Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman dismissed suggestions Wednesday that Israel was covering up anything in its investigation of the shooting of a Jordanian magistrate’s judge at the Allenby border crossing Monday.
“Israel is not hiding anything from Jordan in the investigation of the incident,” he said in an interview on Israel Radio.
The shooting of Raed Zeiter, a 38-year-old judge who Israel said had attacked its soldiers and tried to steal one of their weapons, has set off a diplomatic row between Israel and Jordan, which signed a peace treaty two decades ago. Zeiter was buried Tuesday in his hometown of Nablus in the West Bank.
On Tuesday, Israel expressed regret over the shooting, but stopped short of apologizing.
Liberman said he did not think Amman and Jerusalem would cut off ties in the wake of the incident, insisting that even the Jordanians know that the soldiers were acting in self-defense and according to procedure.
“We can only express regret, and I don’t believe our relations will be severed,” he said.
Despite the foreign minister’s assessment, emotions were still running high on the Jordanian side Wednesday morning, as Zeiter’s widow has said through her lawyer that she will sue Israel if the allegations in the IDF report prove to be untrue.
“There was a normal argument that turned into shooting,” Israeli lawyer Murad Mfarre told Ma’an News Agency, speaking on behalf of the widow. “There are witnesses that we will reach, and we will demand that Israel show us security camera footage so we can figure out what happened.
“If we make sure that the Israeli account is untrue, we will file a lawsuit against the State of Israel,” Mfarre said.
The IDF said its preliminary findings that Zeiter had attacked the soldiers were based on extensive questioning of witnesses and that the investigation, which is being handled by the military police, was ongoing.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights disputed the army’s account, saying one of the soldiers pushed Zeiter after he had disembarked from a bus with other passengers so that Israeli soldiers could search it.
Zeiter responded in kind and other soldiers joined the scuffle, with one of them firing three rounds at his chest, the PCHR said, citing “a witness.”
He was left bleeding for 30 minutes without any medical help before an Israeli ambulance came to retrieve the body, the group said.
Amid protests against Israel in Amman, Jordan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour told MPs Tuesday that the Israeli government was “completely” responsible for the “hideous” shooting, adding that “the Israeli government’s excuses do not justify that treacherous act.”
Ensour said Israel had accepted a Jordanian request to take part in a probe of the incident.
“Jordan has pressured Israel to formally apologize. Jordan is now part of the probe into the shooting,” he said.
Amman also demanded that the soldiers involved be punished, and a number of media outlets have reported that officials from the two sides have been engaged in talks over the incident.