Israel’s new ambassador to Jordan is taking up office ending nine months of political unrest between the two countries.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced today that its new ambassador to Jordan was taking up his new post for the first time since an Israeli security guard shot dead two Jordanians at the Israeli embassy building in Amman last July. The new appointment will bring to an end one of the tensest periods between Israel and Jordan since the two countries signed a peace treaty in 1994.
The new ambassador was announced as Amir Weissbrod who is a career diplomat. Fluent in Arabic, Weissbrod has served stints in Morocco and previously headed the Middle East Bureau at the Foreign Ministry’s Centre for Political Research, according to the Times of Israel.
Relations broke down last summer when an Israeli embassy guard shot two Jordanian citizens, teenager Mohamed Al-Jawawdeh and Bashar Hamarneh, claiming that it was in self-defence as one of them attacked him with a screwdriver. The Israeli was wounded and the two Jordanians were killed, as a result the Jordanian government demanded Schlein leave the country.
Before the Israeli guard fled to Israel following the incident, Israel immediately put him under the protection of diplomatic immunity in order to prevent the Jordanian authorities from interrogating him or taking legal action. To make matters worse, the guard received a hero’s welcome on his return to Israel, being embraced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the scene being televised.
In a rare outburst from the Hashemite monarch, King Abdullah of Jordan slammed Netanyahu for exhibiting “political showmanship” instead of serving justice. As a consequence, the Israeli embassy in Amman was closed down and all diplomatic staff were expelled, with Jordan saying it would not allow the reopening of the embassy until Israel had launched legal proceedings against the guard.
In January, months after the shooting took place, Israel finally agreed to formally apologise and compensate for the killings, with the victims’ families having received $5 million in compensation overall. The guard who killed them, however, was not prosecuted by Israel.