Archive for Jordan
Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced that it appointed its first female ambassador to an Arab state, with seven out of 12 of its new appointments being women. Einat Shlain, a Foreign Ministry employee of 22 years, will take up her post as ambaddasor to Jordan in 10 months, Haaretz reported. She served in Amman at the beginning of her diplomatic career, as well as in Israel’s embassy in Washington. She currently heads the international division of the Foreign Ministry’s diplomatic research center. Female ambassadors were also appointed to France, Romania, Bulgaria, Belgium, Cyprus and China. New ambassadors were set to take up their positions in Spain, Mexico, Azerbaijan, Slovakia and Ireland.
An accidental shooting at the U.S. Embassy in Jordan wounded two local guards, authorities said. Jordanian police spokesman Amer al-Sartawi said the shooting wounded one guard in the hand and the other in the leg. He described the shooting as an accident, but did not elaborate. Edgar Vasquez, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, said the incident happened as guards were moving between vehicles outside of the embassy. “A gendarmerie officer’s weapon accidentally discharged inside the vehicle, injuring two officers,” Vasquez said. “We understand the incident has been ruled an accident and the government’s investigation has been closed.”
Demonstrators in Jordan have called on the government to shut down the Israeli embassy in condemnation of its military aggression against the Gaza Strip. Chanting anti-Israel slogans, the protesters called on the Jordanian government to revoke the 1994 peace treaty with the Tel Aviv regime. The demonstrators also called for an end to the aggression against Gaza. The protest was organized by Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood activists. The event was the biggest in the country since the beginning of the Israeli offensive on July 8. Similar protests were also held in other Jordanian cities following the Friday prayers. The demonstrations came as the Israeli military resumed pounding Gaza after a three-day ceasefire ended on Friday. At least five Palestinians, including two children, lost their lives in the latest Israeli airstrikes targeting the northern and southern parts of the besieged Palestinian territory. Nearly 400,000 Palestinian children are in immediate need of psychological help due to the “catastrophic and tragic impact” of war, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Hundreds of mainly Islamist Jordanian protesters burnt Israeli flags in Amman on Sunday, as demonstrators called on Hamas to step up rocket attacks against Israeli towns and cities to avenge civilian deaths caused by Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. According to the Reuters news agency, demonstrators near the Israeli embassy in Amman chanted “Death to Israel” in one of the biggest public outpourings of anger against Israel in the last few years. Jordan is one of only two Arab states, the other being Egypt, to have signed a peace treaty with Israel. Nevertheless, the treaty has never won much domestic favor and there have been protests against Israel over the years. In 2011, Israel temporarily evacuated its embassy in Amman after calls by Jordanian activists for a ‘million man march’ near the embassy building.
Jordan’s state security court sentenced 11 people to prison terms ranging from four to 20 years for seeking to bomb Western embassies in the country. According to the court, the 11 defendants, belonging to Takfiri groups who accuse other Muslims of apostasy, were charged with planning to conduct terrorist attacks as well as illegal possession of explosives and weapons, Xinhua reported. Some of the defendants were involved in buying chemicals to make explosives and posting videos of their experiment in making bombs on the Internet. In late 2012, the 11 defendants started planning to attack and kidnap tourists in Jordan, bomb the US embassy and some shopping malls in Amman, the court said.
U.S. ally Jordan said it was expelling Syria’s ambassador for accusing the kingdom of backing Syrian rebels, prompting Damascus to retaliate by barring Jordan’s top diplomat. A Jordanian foreign ministry statement gave Syrian Ambassador Bahjat Suleiman, a former general and intelligence chief, 24 hours to leave. It said he had violated diplomatic protocol by posting repeated comments on social media that criticized Jordan and its Gulf allies. “Mr Suleiman used the territory of the kingdom as a platform to level unfounded accusations in more than one statement and post…this was despite repeated warnings for a long while,” the statement on state news agency Petra said. In a tit-for-tat move, neighboring Syria declared Jordan’s charge d’affaires in Damascus persona non grata in response for what it said was an unjustified move to expel its ambassador, Syrian state television said. Jordanian officials said the charge d’affaires was not currently in Syria. Jordan has avoided publicly supporting Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow Assad, calling instead for a political solution to a war that has cost over 100,000 lives. The Western-backed kingdom has harbored more than one million refugees from neighboring Syria’s civil war. Suleiman has accused Jordan in his posts of hosting Islamist radicals sent to fight President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and of providing a haven for hundreds of Syrian army defectors training them with Saudi help to go back and join rebels. “These insults against Jordan and its Arab allies are a flagrant breach of diplomatic norms and treaties,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Sabah al Rafia told state media. Suleiman allowed his followers on Facebook to leave comments strongly critical of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states which back the Syrian opposition, mocking their ruling families and ridiculing Jordanian officials who attacked Assad.
Jordan’s ambassador to Libya has been freed after being abducted by gunmen in the capital, Tripoli, last month. Fawaz al-Itan was released unharmed and was on his way home on Tuesday, Jordanian officials said. The kidnappers had reportedly demanded the release of a Libyan Islamist militant in exchange, but it is unclear whether this was granted. Mr Itan was kidnapped in the Libyan capital on 15 April when masked gunmen shot at his car, wounding the driver. In January gunmen detained six Egyptian diplomats and embassy employees for a few days following the arrest of a Libyan militia commander in Egypt.