Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for Jordan

Newsline: Fatal embassy shooting casts long shadow over Israel-Jordan ties

The relationship — typically low-key, but strategically important — has been “hit hard” on all levels by the July 23 shooting, next to the Israeli Embassy complex in Jordan in which the Israeli guard also killed his middle-aged Jordanian landlord. Israel’s Foreign Ministry, which says the guard acted in self-defense after the teen attacked him with a screw driver, declined comment on potential damage to the relationship. A multi-million-dollar energy deal remains on track, with natural gas to start flowing from Israel to Jordan by early 2020. But other endeavors have suffered. The third phase of a program to employ Jordanians in Israeli hotels — which would have raised the number of workers from 1,000 to 1,500 — is on hold, said Shabtai Shay, head of hotel association in Israel’s Red Sea resort of Eilat. A conference on water and energy cooperation, scheduled for October in Jordan with the participation of Cabinet ministers from both countries, has been put off. A sustained breakdown in communications on sharing water and energy sources, a national security interest for both countries, could have “terrible implications.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been assigned much of the blame for the diplomatic crisis, because of his handling of the shooting aftermath.



Newsline: Embassy official says Paris motorbike explosion did not appear to target Jordan

A motorbike explosion outside the Jordanian military attache’s office in western Paris did not appear to intentionally target Jordan, an embassy official said on Wednesday. A police source said a motorbike had exploded in front of the building, but the reasons for the explosion remained unclear. “A motorbike exploded in front of the building where the military attache’s office is. The police are investigating,” an embassy official said. “It doesn’t seem to be an intentional act that targets Jordan.”


Newsline: Jordan king said to urge Israel to wrap up embassy shooting probe

King Abdullah II of Jordan met with representatives of American Jewish organizations in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, reportedly chiding Israel over the pace of an investigation into a deadly shooting at the embassy in Amman in July. Abdullah, who was accompanied by his wife Queen Raina, talked about efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, stressing the important role US President Donald Trump and the US Jewish community play in the process, the royal court said in a statement. According to the Israeli Walla news website, Abdullah also told the participants, who were not identified in the report, that Israel must conclude an investigation into the deadly shooting of one of its citizens by an Israeli embassy guard in Amman. The guard, Ziv Moyal, was stabbed by a Jordanian on July 23, whereupon he shot and killed the attacker along with a bystander, sparking a diplomatic crisis between Jerusalem and Amman. The entire embassy staff returned to Israel a day later, ater intensive diplomatic efforts to gain the guard’s release. Israel has launched a police probe into the deadly shooting but has yet to publicize its results. A source who was present at the meeting quoted Abdullah as saying he was pressing Israel to end the procedure soon — whether it finds Moyal guilty or innocent.


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.