Jordan says embassy staff can’t return unless guard is tried – report
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Jordan says embassy staff can’t return unless guard is tried – report

Amman fuming over incident that saw security officer, who killed 2 Jordanians when under attack, receive hero's welcome upon return to Israel

Dov Lieber is The Times of Israel's Arab affairs correspondent.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on July 25, 2017 meets with security guard 'Ziv,' who shot dead two Jordanians as he was being stabbed by one of them at the Israeli Embassy compound in Amman on July 23. (Haim Zach/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on July 25, 2017 meets with security guard 'Ziv,' who shot dead two Jordanians as he was being stabbed by one of them at the Israeli Embassy compound in Amman on July 23. (Haim Zach/GPO)

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.

Mourners carry the body of 17-year-old Mohammed Jawawdeh, who was killed on the weekend when he attacked a security guard at the Israeli embassy compound in the Jordanian capital with a screwdriver, during his funeral in Amman on July 25, 2017. (Khalil Mazraawi/AFP)
Mourners carry the body of 17-year-old Mohammed Jawawdeh, who was killed on the weekend when he attacked a security guard at the Israeli embassy compound in the Jordanian capital with a screwdriver, during his funeral in Amman on July 25, 2017. (Khalil Mazraawi/AFP)

The incident sparked a diplomatic crisis, as Jordanian authorities demanded permission to question the guard while Israel refused to hand him over, citing his immunity.

The deadlock was resolved after a flurry of efforts including a visit by the head of Israel’s Shin Bet security agency, Nadav Argaman, to Amman on Monday followed by a phone call between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and King Abdullah II.

Ayman Safadi, Jordan’s foreign minister, on Tuesday said the Jordanian government had been intent on questioning the Israeli guard before allowing him to leave the country, “and despite his diplomatic immunity we were able to reach an agreement to take his deposition.”

Jordan will pursue the investigation until “the truth is reached and justice is done,” he said.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaks during a press conference in the capital Amman on July 25, 2017. (AFP/Khalil Mazraawi)
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaks during a press conference in the capital Amman on July 25, 2017. (AFP/Khalil Mazraawi)

A day later Safadi railed at Israel’s warm reception of the embassy security guard. He told Sky News Arabia that Netanyahu should not have welcomed the guard with a hug and a warm welcome on Tuesday, but should have acted diplomatically.

“It is a disgrace,” he said. “It would be appropriate if Israel acted diplomatically.”

Police will soon summon the guard for questioning, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported Wednesday.

During security cabinet meetings following Sunday evening’s incident, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit told ministers that as a signatory to the Vienna Convention, Israel is required to investigate suspects upon their return from a host country that provided diplomatic immunity for charges against them, the report said.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report

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