Amman says Israeli embassy staff cannot return until shooting of two Jordanians, including an assailant, by Israeli guard properly investigated.
Hundreds of Jordanians held a protest near the Israeli embassy in Amman on Friday, calling on the government to shut it down and cancel the 1994 peace treaty with Israel.
Emerging from a nearby mosque following prayers, the protesters chanted “Death to Israel” and “No Zionist embassy on Jordanian soil,” an AFP correspondent said.
The protesters were also demanding justice for two Jordanian nationals killed by an Israeli embassy worker this week, including a 17-year-old who authorities said attacked the guard with a screwdriver.
According to Hebrew-language media reports, some protesters had tried to break into the empty building before being dispersed by security forces.
The Israeli guard and other embassy staff, including the ambassador, had returned to Israel to praise from Israel’s prime minister, prompting unprecedented criticism from Jordan’s king who said Benjamin Netanyahu’s actions were “provocative.”
The incident set off a stand-off between Israel and Jordan, with tensions already high after Israel introduced new security measures at the highly sensitive Temple Mount in the Old City, administered by a Jordanian-controlled trust. The last of the security equipment was removed on Thursday, nearly two weeks after being put in place in the wake of a July 14 terror attack at the site in which three terrorists shot dead two Israeli officers with weapons they had smuggled onto the compound.
A Jordanian government official said Friday that Jordan will not allow the return of Israel’s ambassador until the shooting of two Jordanians by the embassy security guard has been properly investigated.
“Jordan will not allow ambassador Einat Schlein or the rest of the embassy staff to return until a thorough investigation has been opened” into Sunday’s shooting, the official said.
Jordan informed Israel of its decision, the official added.
On Thursday, the Jordanian monarch called on Netanyahu to try the guard, who travelled home on Monday night with other embassy officials after being briefly questioned by Jordanian investigators.
The guard was welcomed home and greeted as a hero by Netanyahu, who embraced him and said: “You acted well, calmly and we also had an obligation to get you out.”
Israel maintained the guard had diplomatic immunity.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said the security guard shot dead a Jordanian worker, Mohammed Jawawdeh, 17, who had come to an apartment to install furniture and had stabbed him in the back with a screwdriver.
A second Jordanian, the landlord of the apartment, was also killed — apparently by accident. He was buried on Thursday in Madaba, southwest of the capital.
A Jordanian inquiry had confirmed the sequence of events.
Jordan’s public prosecutor Akram Musaid charged on Thursday that the guard was responsible for the killings and possession of a firearm without a licence.