Amman reportedly says in official letter that Israel’s ambassador is unwelcome until legal proceedings over shooting incident begin

 August 13, 2017

Jordan is demanding Israel bring to trial an Israeli embassy guard involved in a deadly shooting in Amman last month before it allows Jerusalem to send its ambassador back to the country, Jordanian government officials told the media on Sunday.

Jordanian government sources told the Jordanian daily Ad-dustor that Amman sent an official letter to Jerusalem on Wednesday saying Israel’s ambassador to the Hashemite kingdom, Einat Schlein, could not return to her post without “guarantees of a serious and thorough investigation of the embassy guard and the bringing of him to trial.”

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. Embassy staff returned to Israel a day later.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the guard a hero’s welcome, infuriating Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who said it was “unacceptable and provocative behavior.”

Israel has since said police would investigate the case.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with security guard Ziv Moyal (R) and Israel's Ambassador to Jordan Einat Schlein (L), at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on July 25, 2017. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with security guard Ziv Moyal (R) and Israel’s Ambassador to Jordan Einat Schlein (L), at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on July 25, 2017. (Haim Zach/GPO)

A Jordanian official told The Associated Press on Friday that Netanyahu’s action was “damaging to bilateral relations and the regional acceptance Israel is seeking.”

Last month, the State Prosecutor’s Office announced that it had opened a preliminary probe into the incident at the behest of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.

Jordanian government spokesman Mohammed Momani called Israel’s decision a “step in the right direction… We expect a complete followup on the legal procedure in accordance to international law relevant to these cases. Justice must be served.”

During security cabinet meetings following the incident, 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 Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported last week.

While Mandelblit emphasized that the inquiry was entirely routine, Moyal will likely be investigated on suspicion of manslaughter, the report said.

Shortly upon returning home, Moyal was questioned by Israeli authorities over the incident, in which he said 17-year-old Mohammed Jawawdeh stabbed him after learning that he was Israeli.

Jawawdeh, the son of a furniture store owner, was in the embassy residence installing a bedroom set at the time of the incident. The landlord, Bashar Hamarneh, was also hit by a bullet and later died of his wounds.

Moyal has reportedly rejected Jordanian claims that the incident was sparked by a dispute over furniture, saying he was attacked for “nationalistic” reasons.

Times Of Israel