Israel embassy in Jordan wont reopen without legal action against guard


Published: 2017-12-01 10:50

Last Updated: 2023-09-26 21:02

The Israeli embassy in Amman. (File photo)
The Israeli embassy in Amman. (File photo)

Jordan will not allow Israel to reopen its embassy in Amman until it has launched legal proceedings against an Israeli security guard who shot dead two Jordanian citizens in July, a Jordanian diplomatic source told Reuters on Thursday.

The senior source added that Israel must also be able to assure its Arab neighbor that “justice has been served,” Reuters reported.

The comments come after Israel signaled that they would replace Einat Schlein as Israel’s ambassador, in the hope of calming anger in Amman over the current envoy’s handling of the shooting.

However, while Jordan has demanded that the security guard return to Jordan to stand trial, Israel has shown no sign of cooperating on this front.

“They can look for a new ambassador but that ambassador will not be welcome in Jordan until a due legal process takes its course and justice is served,” the diplomatic source said.

“Our position remains solid in Jordan.. The embassy will not reopen until these conditions are met... which is the position we took from the very beginning,” he added.

The embassy was closed shortly after Israel repatriated the guard under diplomatic immunity, preventing Jordanian authorities from interrogating him and taking any legal action against him. 

However, Jordan maintains that even if the guard had diplomatic immunity that did not mean he could not be punished.

“The guard enjoyed immunity and not impunity under Vienna conventions,” the source said, referring to the Vienna Convention that specifies privileges given to diplomats.

“Jordan acted in compliance with its obligation under international law and Israel has to do the same,” the source said.

A televised welcome of the guard and Schlein further outraged officials in Jordan, with Jordan’s King Abdullah II calling on Israel to put the guard on trial, stating: “The Israeli Prime Minister is obliged to commit to his responsibilities and to take the necessary legal actions which include putting the killer on trial to attain justice, instead of dealing with this crime as a political display with the intent of achieving personal political gains.”

The closure of Israel’s embassy in Amman has stalled the start of the $1 billion Red Sea-Dead Sea water project deal between the two countries, as Israel has refused to proceed with discussions until its embassy staff are allowed to return to Amman.

This week a senior Jordanian official sent a letter to Israel demanding to know by the end of December whether it was still committed to the deal.