Reports in the Jordanian and Israeli media this week say that Israel will soon reopen its embassy in Amman, which was closed following a deadly incident last July. That’s when one of the agents from Israel’s notorious Shin Bet secret police agency guarding the embassy building shot dead Mohammed Jawawdeh, a 17-year-old Jordanian of Palestinian origin, and Bashar Hamarneh, his landlord.
Israeli government sources claimed that Jawawdeh was a “terrorist” supposedly motivated by what was going on in Jerusalem at the time; he is alleged to have attacked the Israeli agent. There were also claims of a dispute over a wardrobe which Jawawdeh, a carpenter, had supposedly not completed as ordered by the killer. Hamarneh’s killing was, supposedly, “a mistake.”
Jawawdeh’s family disputed the Israeli version of events. His father told AFP at the time that his son was not an extremist and that he wanted to get to the truth of what really happened to him.
Israel’s Shin Bet “security agency” is notorious for snooping on, kidnapping and murdering Palestinian activists – armed and unarmed alike – all over occupied Palestine. The agency is also responsible for guarding Israeli embassies and consulates all around the world, including London.
An indication that the Israelis lied was the fact that the killer immediately claimed diplomatic immunity to flee back to Israel. Once there, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu treated the media to the grotesque spectacle of him quite literally embracing the killer, whose name is said to be Ziv Moyal.
The Jordanian government is going ahead with the reopening of the embassy, its spokesperson claimed, because the Israeli government has now “apologised” for the two killings, as well as the 2014 killing of a Jordanian judge who had been crossing the Israeli-controlled border between the occupied West Bank and Jordan. However, the Israeli government disputed this, saying that it had only “expressed regret.” The two “sides” also apparently disagreed on the issue of whether or not the killer will stand trial in Israel.
If Ziv Moyal every does face justice for these alleged murders, I will eat my proverbial hat. Netanyahu rolling out the red carpet for him tells us all we need to know about the likelihood of that ever happening.
The Jordanian regime, though, is also partly to blame for this unsatisfactory situation. Ever since its foundation as a puppet entity for the British Empire, Jordan has been far too willing to appease, bow down and scrape to the Israeli enemy.
There have been a few exceptions to this general rule, most notably when Israel (during Netanyahu’s previous term of office in the 1990s) blatantly violated the peace treaty with Jordan by attempting to assassinate Khaled Meshaal, the former leader of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, in Amman. Back then, the late King Hussein read the Israelis the Riot Act, surrounded the embassy and forced them to hand over the antidote to the poison that Mossad agents had used on Meshaal.
Nevertheless, the very foundation of Israel as an apartheid entity built on the mass graves of Palestinian civilians murdered by Israel’s pre-state militias was facilitated by the Jordanian monarchy and regime. The definitive book on this still-woefully neglected area of history is reputed to be Avi Shlaim’s 1988 Collusion Across the Jordan (later revised and abridged as The Politics of Partition).
As Andrew and Leslie Cockburn summarise in their 1991 book about the history of the US-Israel military and intelligence alliance, Dangerous Liaison: “Despite the traditional perception that all Arab countries united to crush Israel at birth, King Abdullah of Jordan [the present King’s grandfather] was by no means unalterably opposed to the Jewish state. In fact, secret negotiations with the king, involving [future first Mossad chief Reuven] Shiloah, [General] Moshe Dayan, and others in [first Prime Minister David] Ben-Gurion’s inner circle, resulted in a secret agreement, lubricated by bribes.”
This corrupt agreement stipulated that, “Abdullah would collude with Israel in order to ensure that the independent Palestinian state envisaged by the United Nations would never come into being. Instead, with Israeli assent and encouragement, Abdullah seized Arab Palestine in defiance of his fellow Arab rulers and ruled it as the West Bank.”
Ever since then, Jordan has acted as a faithful client regime to the imperial interests that rule the region, first the British and later the Americans. Part of this US “regional order” has been to acquiesce to Israeli diktats as required. No matter how much Jordan bows, though, it will never be enough.
After all, official party objectives of the ruling Likud in Israel state that Jordanian territory should ultimately be part of the “Land of Israel”. The so-called “revisionist” right-wing tendency of Zionism – Netanyahu’s political antecedents – was named as such because it wanted to “revise” the line that the British Empire had drawn between Palestine and what later became Jordan. The logo of the right-wing Irgun (a Zionist terrorist organisation later integrated into the Israeli army) clearly showed the map of both Palestine and Jordan as the “Land of Israel”.
The fact that Jordan is reopening the embassy of this rogue regime of human rights abusers is testament to the fact that there is still collusion across the River Jordan.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.