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Israel ‘deeply regrets’ embassy incident, killing judge

Tel Aviv sends official apology, vows justice, compensation to victims’ families

By JT - Jan 18,2018 - Last updated at Jan 18,2018

In this file photo, His Majesty King Abdullah comforts the father of Mohammad Jawawdeh, who was killed by an Israel embassy employee at a residential building rented by the Israeli embassy in Amman in July 2017 (File photo)

AMMAN — Israel has officially apologised for an incident when an Israeli embassy guard killed two Jordanians and the 2014 killing of Jordanian Judge Raed Zuaiter by Israeli troops, while crossing to the West Bank.

Minister of State for Media Affairs and Government Spokesperson  Mohammad Momani said in a statement Thursday that the Foreign Ministry had received an official memo from Israel’s foreign ministry in which “the Israeli government expressed its apology and deep regrets regarding the Israeli embassy incident in July last year, resulting in the martyrdom of two Jordanian citizens, and also regarding the incident of killing Judge Raed Zuaiter”.

Momani added that Israel officially pledged in the memo to carry on with legal action related to the embassy incident and “promised to provide financial compensation for the families of the three martyrs”.  

In the letter, Tel Aviv expressed its keenness on resuming cooperation with Jordan and settling these files.

In remarks to The Jordan News Agency, Petra, Momani said that Amman would “take the appropriate measures that serve national interests” in response to the Israeli memo, especially since the Israeli government has accepted, as indicated in the letter, all the conditions set by Jordan to accept the return of its ambassador to Amman.

The minister added that the government had contacted the families of the victims “who accepted the apology and the compensation”. 

Reuters reported that Israel would send a new ambassador to Jordan, replacing the former diplomat.

Jordan had insisted that it would not allow the reopening of the Israeli embassy in Amman and the return of its crew until the Israeli staffer who killed the two Jordanians is referred to a court of law and justice is duly served.

On July 23rd, 16-year-old Mohammad Jawawdeh was killed, along with Bashar Hamarneh, a doctor, by an Israel embassy employee at a residential building rented by the Israeli embassy in Amman. The killer, who shot both Jawawdeh and Hamarneh, left Jordan to Israel protected by his diplomatic immunity, a matter which triggered widespread public anger in Jordan. 

On his return to Tel Aviv, the guard was warmly welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the footage of the encounter insulting the sentiments of Jordanians.

In March 2014, Zuaiter, a judge at the Amman Court of First Instance, was killed at King Hussein Bridge during an argument with an Israeli soldier. 

In remarks to Jordan TV, Hamarneh’s daughter expressed her appreciation for His Majesty King Abdullah’s efforts that resulted in realising all of her civil and personal rights.

Mohammad Jawawdeh’s father told the station: “I would like to thank His Majesty for his efforts, and highly value His Majesty response when he immediately cut short his visit to the US, headed back to Jordan and visited us at home.” He also thanked Jordanian people for their support.

For Zueiter’s father, “the King has fulfilled his pledge to follow up on the case during his visit to my house”. 

“We have received all of our civil, financial and personal rights,” he confirmed.


The judge’s wife said that “the King did not leave us alone and he stood, as usual, with his people”.

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