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Newsline: Russian Foreign Ministry summons Israeli ambassador

Israeli Ambassador to Moscow Gary Koren has been summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry to clarify his country’s position on Russia’s participation in the project to build a museum on the grounds of the Sobibor Nazi death camp in eastern Poland, the embassy’s spokesman Alex Gandler told TASS. According to Gandler, the ambassador confirmed that “the Israeli Foreign Ministry supports Russia’s participation in the international management committee for the reconstruction of the Sobibor death camp museum.” Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that the ambassadors of Israel and a number of European countries had been summoned to the ministry “for a serious conversation” in light of the international committee’s decision not to include Russia in the Sobibor museum project. Russia was invited to take part in the project to renovate the Sobibor museum and memorial in 2013. The project had been initiated by Poland, Israel, Holland and Slovakia, whose representatives comprise the organizing committee. Russia accepted the invitation and expressed readiness to make a significant financial contribution, but the further consultations with Poland concerning Russia’s participation produced no results. In July, news came that a decision had been made to carry on with the project without Russia involved.


Newsline: Israeli Embassy to Reopen in Cairo, Still Closed in Jordan

Israel will re-open its embassy in Cairo, nine months after it was closed due to security concerns, Israeli media reported on Tuesday. There has been no official confirmation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on this. Israel’s ambassador to Egypt, David Govrin, left Cairo with the entire embassy staff in December 2016, after Israeli security agency Shin Bet contended that their safety was endangered. According to Tuesday reports by Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Israeli Foreign Ministry and security teams recently traveled to Cairo to discuss new security arrangements in the embassy. Israeli diplomatic presence in Egypt has had a rocky record for the past decade, with Govrin working in Cairo rather briefly, from September 2015 to December 2016. The 2015 reopening took place after another, four year hiatus, also prompted by security concerns. In 2011, a mob of thousands protesters stormed the legation with battering rams, forcing Israel to airlift its diplomats out of Egypt. The other diplomatic crisis, between Israel and Jordan, shows no signs of resolution. Jordan banned Israel’s ambassador Einat Schlein from returning to Amman until the embassy security guard Ziv Moyal, who shot dead two Jordanians in July after being stabbed by one of them, is investigated and tried. Israeli authorities have launched a probe into the incident, but no conclusions have yet been drawn. Although Jordan described the warm welcome Moyal had received from Israeli government upon return as “provocative” and “damaging to bilateral relations” between the two countries, Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem claims there are “no issues” with Amman. They also announced a meeting scheduled for next week which will be attended by Jordanian and Palestinian Authority representatives.


Newsline: Jordan reportedly bars return of Israeli embassy staff until guard stands trial

The Jordanian government will reportedly not allow the staff of the Israeli embassy in Amman to return until the embassy guard who shot and killed two Jordanians when he was allegedly attack with a screwdriver at the embassy compound last month stands trial, according to Jordanian daily Ad-Dustour. The daily reported Sunday that the demand had been made to the Israeli Foreign Ministry in a letter last Wednesday, according to Haaretz. Tensions have been heightened between Jordan and Israel since the incident and thousands of Jordanians demonstrated against Israel in Amman and other cities, calling for “resistance” to “Zionist attacks” and demanding the cancellation of a 1994 peace treaty. According to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the “security officer” was “stabbed … by a Jordanian worker who had entered the embassy compound for routine furniture replacement.” The worker crept up behind the Israel and stabbed him with a screwdriver, the statement said. The security officer “defended himself” and killed the attacker. A second Jordanian, identified as the landlord of the Israeli’s apartment, was also injured in the incident and later succumbed to his wounds, Jordanian security sources and the Israeli government confirmed. Earlier this month, Israel confirmed it was also conducting an investigation into the incident.


Newsline: Israel launches preliminary investigation of Amman embassy shootings

Israel said it would conduct a preliminary investigation into the July 23 shooting to death of two Jordanians by a guard at its Amman embassy who the kingdom says should face criminal prosecution. Citing the guard’s diplomatic immunity, Israel repatriated him and other embassy staff after the incident, which stirred up anger in Jordan, where the 1994 peace deal between the countries is unpopular and pro-Palestinian sentiment widespread. Israel says the guard fired in self-defense after being stabbed by screwdriver-wielding Jordanian workman, who was killed along with a Jordanian bystander hit by stray gunfire. Jordanian authorities initially said there had been an altercation before the shooting, but later described the incident as a double homicide and demanded Israel put the guard on trial. Israel’s attorney-general on Friday ordered police to “look into” the shootings, the justice ministry said in a statement, using terminology signifying a preliminary probe that could be upgraded into a criminal investigation if warranted. Jordan reacted positively to the Israeli moves but said it expected further “tangible judicial” moves to follow. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, under pressure at home for his handling of a surge in Palestinian unrest around a contested Jerusalem holy site, gave the guard a hero’s welcome. That infuriated Amman, prompting U.S. crisis mediation. Israel has tried to keep the guard’s identity under wraps, saying he could be targeted for reprisals. But a Jordanian newspaper published his diplomatic accreditation, including his name and photograph. Israeli officials have said that, as well as the probe into the shootings, they are considering offering compensation to the family of the slain Jordanian bystander – the owner of a property rented out to the embassy.


Newsline: Jordanian protesters demand closure of Israel’s embassy

Protesters gathered near the Israeli Embassy in the Jordanian capital Amman, angry that an Israeli embassy guard who shot dead a Jordanian had returned to Israel and been granted diplomatic immunity. A Reuters witness said around 200 people had assembled peacefully in the vicinity of the embassy. Scores chanted, “Death to Israel,” and called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and scrapping of a peace treaty with Israel. A heavy Jordanian police presence had sealed off the area around the embassy so the protesters gathered nearby. Lasy Sunday an embassy guard shot dead Jordanian teenager Mohammad Jawawdah as well as the landlord of the house in the compound where the guard lived. Israel said the guard had been defending himself after Jawawdah assaulted him with a screwdriver in a “terrorist attack.” Israel is examining the July 23 incident, in accordance with its usual legal procedures. The offices of the state prosecutor and the attorney general have asked all parties connected to the incident hand over all relevant material. Israel plans to update Jordan on its examination of the incident.


Newsline: Jordan’s King Abdullah II slams Netanyahu over embassy killings

Jordan’s Abdullah II has demanded a trial against the security guard who had killed two Jordanians within the Israeli embassy in Amman. The monarch also accused Netanyahu of treating the case as a “political show.” People in Jordan were “infuriated” by Israel’s response to the double killing, Jordanian King Abdullah II said on Thursday. Tensions between the two countries have been running at the fever pitch since Sunday evening, when an Israeli security guard shot and killed two Jordanians in an apartment on embassy grounds. One of them was a teenage worker who was in the building to install furniture. Israeli officials claim that the teenager attacked the guard with a screwdriver, causing the embassy employee to open fire. The other victim was reportedly killed by accident. With the guard protected by diplomatic immunity, Israel was able to repatriate him on Monday. He and the Israeli ambassador were then warmly welcomed by Israel’s right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said he was “happy” to see the staffer back in his homeland. “You acted well, calmly, and we also had an obligation to get you out,” Netanyahu told the guard after embracing him.


Newsline: Jordan says Israeli embassy staff can’t return unless guard is tried

Jordan will not allow the return of staff to the Israeli embassy in Amman without a guarantee that an Israeli security guard who killed two Jordanians as he allegedly defended himself from an attack will stand trial in Israel, Jordanian media reported on Thursday. Israel’s ambassador in Amman, Einat Schlein, and her staff at the embassy, left Jordan on Monday due to tensions between Israel and Jordan following the incident. The Jordanian daily al-Ghad quoted unidentified sources who said Schlein and her staff would not be permitted to return to Jordan until Israel supplied “full and complete guarantees” it would try the guard. The head of the Hashemite Royal Court, Fayez Tarawneh, told the Jordanian daily that he would continue to follow the case in accordance with international laws and diplomatic norms until justice is served. Israel’s Foreign Ministry said the guard, named only as Ziv, was stabbed by 17-year-old Mohammed Jawawdeh, who was in an embassy residence installing a bedroom set Sunday evening. Ziv opened fire on Jawawdeh, killing him and a second man, Bashar Hamarneh, at the site, in self-defense, the ministry said.