Jordan Doubles Down on Ban of Israeli Diplomatic Staff

YERUSHALAYIM -
Policemen and vehicles are seen near the Israeli embassy in Amman, Jordan, July 23. (Reuters/Stringer)

Sources in Amman said over the weekend that Jordan will not re-admit Israel’s diplomatic staff, including the Israeli ambassador to Jordan, without a clear commitment from Israel that it will prosecute Ziv Moyal, the security guard who killed two Jordanians while defending himself from a terror attack. The report in the Jordanian Al-Dustur newspaper said that Jordan’s Foreign Ministry made clear the country’s position in a letter to Israeli officials last Wednesday. The transmission of the message by Jordan was reported Sunday in Haaretz, which quoted Al-Dustur.

The incident last month that resulted in a diplomatic brouhaha took place at an apartment rented by the Israeli embassy in Amman, in which Ziv Moyal, a security guard at the embassy, was attacked by a terrorist. Moyal defended himself, shooting the terrorist. The terrorist later died of his wounds, as did the owner of the apartment. In the wake of that incident, mass riots were held in Amman against Israel, demanding that Moyal be turned over to Jordanian authorities for trial and that their government “punish” Israel by ripping up the 1994 peace treaty signed by the two countries. The Israeli diplomatic staff was instructed to leave, and has not returned since.

Jordanian officials said that they found especially upsetting a meeting between Moyal and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu upon the return of the guard to Israel. Netanyahu embraced Moyal and promised to ensure his protection. The prime minister told Moyal that he was “happy to see you, and happy that things worked out. You acted appropriately – logically and with determination. We had an obligation to bring you home, and we did.”

In an interview with Sky News after the incident, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman a-Safadi criticized that meeting, calling it “shameful and unacceptable. Any reception for this man should have been much more low-key.” He stressed that the Israeli ambassador would not be allowed back in Jordan until Moyal was put on trial for “murdering” two Jordanian citizens.