Israeli embassy in Jordan can't reopen before legal action against guard

Israeli sources said on Wednesday they were planning to replace Ambassador Einat Schlein at the Amman embassy in an effort to improve ties.

By REUTERS
November 30, 2017 17:45
1 minute read.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets Israel's Ambassador to Jordan Einat Schlein and wounded secu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets Israel's Ambassador to Jordan Einat Schlein and wounded security officer Ziv, July 25 2017.. (photo credit: GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE)

Jordan will not allow Israel to reopen its embassy in Amman until it has launched legal proceedings into July’s shooting incident in the Israeli embassy compound in Amman, a Jordanian diplomatic source said on Thursday.

The source’s comment came a day after Israel signaled that it would accept one of Jordan’s demands for reopening the embassy: the replacement of Einat Schlein as Israel’s ambassador.

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Israel must be able to assure its Arab neighbor that “justice has been served” in the case, the source said.

Israeli-Jordanian diplomatic ties were badly strained following the incident in which a security guard at the embassy opened fire after allegedly being attacked by an assailant with a screwdriver, killing him and a bystander at the scene.

Following the incident, the embassy’s entire staff – including the guard and Schlein – were returned to Israel. Jordanian authorities could not investigate the guard at the time due to his diplomatic immunity.

The Jordanians were infuriated by a televised welcome the guard and Schlein received from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when they returned to Israel after a tense day of negotiations with the Jordanian authorities to secure their release.

The embassy has been shuttered since.

“They can look for a new ambassador but that ambassador will not be welcome in Jordan until a due legal process takes its course and justice is served,” the Jordanian diplomatic source said.

“Our position remains solid in Jordan... The embassy will not reopen until these conditions are met... which is the position we took from the very beginning,” he added.

Jordan, which claims that the shooting was unprovoked, has demanded that criminal proceedings be launched against the guard.

Last month, Channel 2 News reported that the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) finished its investigation into the matter and found that the guard acted in self-defense and was justified in shooting the attacker, Muhammad Jawawdeh.

Israel, has indicated, however, that it would be willing to pay compensation to the family of the bystander killed in the incident.


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