Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets in his office with Ziv the Israeli guard stabbed in the Jordan embassy complex.
(photo credit: CHAIM ZACH / GPO)
Six months after it was closed following a shooting incident, and even though no ambassador has yet been named, Israel’s embassy in Amman is “gradually reopening,” the Foreign Ministry confirmed on Tuesday.
The embassy was shuttered last July after an Israeli security guard allegedly attacked by a man with a screwdriver, shot the attacker, and also accidentally killed a bystander.
The guard, ambassador at the time Einat Schlein and the embassy staff were returned home shortly afterward, and the Jordanians were infuriated that the guard received a “hero’s welcome” by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Ties with Jordan chilled considerably since the incident, with the Jordanians demanding that the guard stand trial, and compensation be paid to the families.
Earlier this month, just prior to a visit to Jordan and Israel by US Vice President Mike Pence, an agreement was reached putting an end to the affair and paving the way for the reopening of the embassy.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters on his way back from India 10 days ago that Israel did not “apologize” for the incident, but rather expressed regret.
He said that Israel would pay compensation to the government, compensation which – according to some reports that put the sum at $5 million – has already been distributed to the families, as well as the family of a Jordanian judge killed in an incident in 2014 at the Allenby Bridge.
Asked if the whole incident could have been managed better by both sides, Netanyahu replied: “I’m sure both of the sides have drawn conclusions from this incident. I have done it on our side and I think that Jordan has done it on its side.”
Both sides, he said, have a strong interest in the health of the relationship. He thanked US officials Jared Kushner
and Jason Greenblatt for assistance in bringing an end to the crisis.
Jordan has demanded that Schlein does not return as ambassador and the Foreign Ministry is currently in the process of finding a successor. Netanyahu, who said he greatly appreciated the ambassador’s work, said she will get another senior appointment.
Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi told Israel Public Radio on Tuesday that it was “very important to put this crisis behind us because it was born without any connection to the policies of the two countries.”
Hanegbi said he had “no problem” with the compensation payment.