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Israel seeks new ambassador to Amman

November 30, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Einat Schlein (L). the current ambassador of Israel to Jordan, meet with the Israeli security officer who killed 2 Jordanians in July 2017 [RaphaelAhren/Twitter]

Israel is planning to appoint a new ambassador to Amman in a bid to clamp down tensions that erupted in the wake of killing two Jordanians by an Israeli embassy guard in July, reported on Wednesday.

Sources from the Israeli foreign ministry said that Einat Schlein, the current ambassador who is now in Israel, would not return to her position and she is looking for another role to take up.

The diplomat noted that Jordan had refused the return of Schlein as part of a number of preconditions ahead of healing ties between Amman and Tel Aviv. Other conditions included the payment of compensation to the family of the Jordanians killed and an official apology from the Israeli embassy for the shootout.

One of the prerequisites stated earlier this month had also specified that an investigation be carried out into the fatal shootings; this demand was notably absent from the new requirements.

Israeli media also reports that the release of some 23 Jordanian prisoners held by Israel is currently on the table, with negotiations led on the Israeli side by Mossad chief Yossi Cohen.

“The Jordanian government has asked Israel, as part of efforts to end the crisis, to release Jordanian prisoners held in its custody,” a Jordanian source was quoted as saying by Haaretz.

Read: Israel to Jordan: Reopen embassy or you will run dry

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Israel does not want to meet Amman’s demand to launch criminal proceedings against the guard, and have ruled that he acted in self-defence.

“The Shin Bet security service has completed the detailed investigation into the case. The guard has no doubt that he acted and fired properly and expects, in self-defence, and therefore cannot be tried,” an Israeli source said.

Earlier this month, Israel reportedly told Jordan that it would stop a water project from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea if Amman did not allow the Israeli embassy to reopen, a threat considered to have forced Jordan to the negotiating table.

On July 24, a guard of the Israeli embassy in Amman shot dead two Jordanians, a teenager and a physician. The Jordanian authorities, who said the guard was unprovoked, could not investigate him due to his diplomatic immunity.

The guard, who left Amman with the Israeli ambassador Schlien, had a hero’s welcome for the cameras by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he returned to Israel, causing anger among Jordanians.

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