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July 24, 2017 8:34 am

Netanyahu Pledges to Defuse Tensions With Jordan Following Shooting at Israeli Embassy in Amman

avatar by Ben Cohen

A protest outside the Israeli Embassy in Amman. Photo: File.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to de-escalate a diplomatic crisis with Jordan following Sunday’s attack at Israel’s embassy in Amman, during which two Jordanians were killed by an Israeli security guard.

The two Jordanians were shot after one of them, 17-year-old Mohammed Jawawdeh, stabbed the Israeli guard with a screwdriver, wounding him. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said that the shooting was an act of “self-defense.”

Jordan is now refusing to allow the wounded guard to leave for Israel, despite his diplomatic immunity. Jawawdeh’s family is demanding the death penalty, while Jordanian officials continue to insist that the guard be handed over to them for interrogation.

“I assured the security guard that we will see to bringing him back to Israel; we have experience in this,” Netanyahu said in advance of a phone call with Jordan’s King Abdullah. “I told both of them (the guard and Israel’s ambassador to Jordan, Einat Shlain)  that we are holding ongoing contacts with security and government officials in Amman, on all levels, in order to bring the incident to a close as quickly as possible.”

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The incident came after angry demonstrations in Amman on Friday in support of the violent Palestinian campaign to oppose Israeli control over the Temple Mount and other holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Jordan, which occupied eastern Jerusalem from 1949 to 1967, is the custodian of the Islamic Waqf, which administers the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount site.

Oded Eran, a former Israeli ambassador to Jordan, said that, in the short term, security should be stepped up outside the embassy and, in the long term, the Jordanians should “tone down their statements on Jerusalem and events at Temple Mount.”

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