Jordan submits candidate for next ambassador to Israel to fill vacant post

Jordan submits candidate for next ambassador to Israel to fill vacant post

Amman waiting for Jerusalem’s approval to appoint diplomat Ghassan Majali to serve as next envoy, has yet to receive a response, source says

Ghassan Majali, Jordan's newly appointed ambassador to Israel. (Screen capture/YouTube)
Ghassan Majali, Jordan's newly appointed ambassador to Israel. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Jordan has submitted to Israel for approval its preferred candidate to serve as the next ambassador to the Jewish state, but has yet to receive a response from Jerusalem, a source in the Jordanian capital said on Wednesday.

Former Jordanian Ambassador to Israel Walid Obeidat recently left Tel Aviv after serving as Jordan’s envoy for more than five years.

Jordan has asked for Israel’s approval to tap Ghassan Majali, who previously served as the Jordanian ambassador to Spain, as its new envoy in Tel Aviv, the source in Amman told The Times of Israel.

When asked to confirm whether Israel received a Jordanian request to approve Majali, Israeli Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Ohad Kaynar said, “These are issues discussed through diplomatic channels. The Foreign Ministry will provide updates in accordance with further developments.”

If appointed, Majali would become Jordan’s sixth ambassador to serve in Israel.

This picture shows a general view of east Amman and the Nazzal neighborhood on June 8, 2018. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1994 but the two countries were embroiled in a diplomatic standoff following the shooting deaths of two Jordanians in July 2017 by an Israeli security guard who Israel said opened fire in self-defense after one of the men tried to stab him.

Israel and Jordan reached an agreement to end the diplomatic fight in January when a Jordanian government spokesperson said he had received from Israel an “official memorandum” apologizing for the deaths of the two Jordanians, as well as for the killing of a Jordanian judge in a separate incident in 2014.

The Jordanian spokesperson, Mohammad Momani, said at the time that Israel had agreed to comply with all the kingdom’s preconditions for resuming regular diplomatic relations between the two sides. Those included, he said, bringing legal action against the Israeli security guard and offering financial compensation to the bereaved Jordanian families.

Jordanian security forces stand guard outside the Israeli embassy in the residential Rabiyeh neighborhood of the capital Amman on July 23, 2017. (AFP/Khalil Mazraawi)

Shortly afterward, the Prime Minister’s Office put out a statement announcing that the Israeli embassy, which was closed in the wake of the July 2017 incident, would reopen.

Diverging from the terms announced by Jordan, the statement said Israeli authorities would come to a decision “in the coming weeks” as to whether the guard, Ziv Moyal, would stand trial over the shooting. Israel later that month decided it will not prosecute Moyal, two Israeli sources told Reuters.

In addition to Jordan, Israel only has open diplomatic ties with one other Arab country, Egypt, which currently does not have an ambassador posted in Israel. Former Egyptian ambassador to Israel Hazem Khairat left after serving as Egypt’s top diplomat there for some two and half years.

An Egyptian official did not respond to a request for comment about why Khairat left and if Cairo intends to send a replacement.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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