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‘Jordan to announce results of probe into judge’s death when ready’

By Khetam Malkawi - Mar 13,2014 - Last updated at Mar 13,2014

AMMAN — The government will announce the results of investigation into the killing of Jordanian Judge Raed Zuaiter as soon as the probe committee finishes its report, a minister said on Thursday.

Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Mohammad Momani reiterated that the government has received an apology letter from the Israeli government following the incident.

However, the letter includes the phrase: “We deeply regret,” as read by Momani, who is also the government spokesperson.

The apology has triggered a linguistic debate among observers after Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour told lawmakers Tuesday that Israel “officially apologised”, while critics said the statement from the office of Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu expressed “regret” and stopped short of  “apology”.

Jordan on Monday summoned the Israeli charge d’affaires in Amman, protesting the shooting of Zuaiter by Israeli soldiers and asked for an immediate investigation on the incident.

Zuaiter, a judge at the Amman Court of First Instance, was killed at the King Hussein (Allenby) Bridge over Jordan River on Monday. In reaction to the incident, the government asked to take part in the investigation that is yet to be announced. Israel agreed to the request.

Momani told reporters that the government will meet next week with the Lower House and discuss deputies’ demands to protest the killing of Zuaiter.

The House on Wednesday gave the government seven days to declare measures it plans to take against Israel in relation to the death of the judge, who was buried in Nablus Tuesday. Ensour and his team risk a no-confidence vote if they do not convince deputies of their plan, amid a popular uproar and rising anti-Israeli sentiments.

“We highly respect the recommendations and decisions of the lawmakers, and will keep the House speaker abreast of the progress in the investigation,” Momani said.

In a non-binding decision, the House voted unanimously for expelling the Israeli ambassador and recalling the Jordanian ambassador in Tel Aviv.

They also demanded that the Israeli government release all Jordanian and Palestinian prisoners and called for placing the crossing points between Jordan and the West Bank under joint Jordanian-Palestinian control.

Meanwhile, major cities are reportedly expected to witness rallies on Friday that echo the same demands, while news websites reported that activists are preparing for a major rally to mark the March 24 protest, the major event of the Jordan’s Arab Spring. 

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