Jordanians in Uproar Over Deal With Israel

YERUSHALAYIM -
Angry mourners at the funeral of Mohammad Jawawdah in Amman, Jordan on Tuesday. (Reuters/Muhammad Hamed)

Jordan was in an uproar on Tuesday in the wake of the government’s decision to allow an Israeli security guard who killed a terrorist assailant to return to Israel instead of being handed over to Jordanian police.

During the funeral in Amman of the 17-year-old who was shot dead by the guard in the Israeli embassy, people chanted “Death to Israel” and “We will go to Yerushalayim as martyrs by the millions.”

Several thousand Jordanians demanded the closure of the Israeli embassy and the scrapping of the peace treaty, which is widely unpopular.

Dozens of demonstrators chanted “No to an Israeli embassy or ambassador on Jordanian land” as they carried the coffin of Mohammad Jawawdah to his burial place in a cemetery in the capital, Reuters reported.

Jawawdeh’s uncle, Sami, said the family is urging Jordan’s King Abdullah II to avenge his death “because he is the one who can decide in such matters.”

Jordanian police said on Monday that Jawawdah, who worked in a furniture firm, had got into a brawl with the Israeli security guard after entering the compound of the embassy on Sunday to deliver an order.

They said the Israeli security guard had fired on Jawawdah after the young man attacked him, but did not confirm Israel’s account that he had used a screwdriver to stab the guard in what Israeli officials described as a “terrorist attack.”

Behind the scenes, however, Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman had in fact persuaded Jordanian officials that such was the case during a mission to Amman on Monday.

Jordan’s peace accord with Israel, the second to be concluded with Israel by an Arab country after Egypt, is unpopular with many Jordanians, many of whom are of Palestinian origin.

The kingdom has seen an outpouring of public anger against Israel in recent days over the Al-Aqsa situation, with thousands of Jordanians demonstrating last Friday against Israel across Jordan.

Meanwhile, a session of Jordan’s parliament ended in an angry walkout by lawmakers in protest over the government’s handling of the crisis.

Jordanian riot police stood guard around the Israeli embassy on Tuesday morning in a western Amman residential neighborhood, after activists posted online calls for an anti-Israel demonstration. Embassy was evacuated Monday night with the security guard.

Hostility to Israel also showed itself at the crossing into Jordan near Beit Shean as Israelis were forced to wait in line for hours while non-Israeli nationals were allowed into the country without delay.

One Jordanian told a Yisrael Hayom reporter that “we want tourists, but not Israeli tourists,” adding, “You Israelis think only about how to humiliate the Muslims and take over Har HaBayis? You have no rights there,” he said, in what was described as typical of the opinion in the street.

The reporter wrote that the rage is evident everywhere in the kingdom. “Even the clerk in our hotel asked us, with a grave look, not to converse in Hebrew,” and to keep a low profile.