Hundreds demand closure of Israeli embassy in Jordan after shooting of teenager

Hundreds demand closure of Israeli embassy in Jordan after shooting of teenager
Hundreds of Jordanians staged protests outside the Israeli embassy in Amman, Friday, demanding the dissolution of the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty among other demands. Their action follows from a week-old shooting incident that left two Jordanians dead.

The protesters marched from the Kalouti Mosque to the embassy following Friday prayers, the New Arab reports. They called for the termination of the 1994 peace treaty between Israel and Jordan as well as withdrawing from the gas deal the kingdom struck with Tel Aviv in September 2016.

The demonstrators also demanded the Israeli embassy be shut down. They tried to advance towards the building but were blocked by police, the Times of Israel reports.

Earlier, dozens of Jordanian MPs reportedly signed a motion calling for the embassy's closure. The document also demanded the Jordanian ambassador to Israel be recalled.

Friday's protest is the latest in a series of demonstrations that has followed the fatal shooting incident at the embassy. On July 28, hundreds of people joined a similar rally outside the Israeli embassy. They were also calling for the abolition of the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel.

Three days earlier, thousands of Jordanians joined the funeral procession of the teenager shot dead by an Israeli security guard during a standoff at the embassy. “No to an Israeli embassy or ambassador on Jordanian land” and “Death to Israel," people chanted.

On July 23, an Israeli guard shot dead 17-year-old Mohammed Jawawdeh, a furniture assembler, who allegedly attempted to attack him inside the embassy compound. Another Jordanian, bystander Bashar Hamarneh, was reported killed by accidental fire during the standoff, Israel said.

The incident is viewed as the most serious since Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1994 and has brought on a diplomatic spat between the neighboring states. The guard, who shot the teenager, was allowed to leave for Israel together with the rest of the embassy staff after the investigators heard "his account of the incident" at the embassy.

On his return to Israel, the guard received a warm welcome from prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This prompted further outrage in Jordan and in some other Arab countries, as people on social media expressed indignation at his release and the greeting he received at home.

On July 27, Jordanian King Abdullah II slammed Netanyahu for giving a hero’s welcome to the guard and called on the Israeli prime minister to put him on trial. On Friday, Israel said it would launch a preliminary investigation in the July 23 shooting incident.

The Israeli justice ministry said the country’s attorney-general ordered police to look into the shooting, as reported by Reuters.

"Further along, as findings arise, the option will be considered of asking the Jordanian authorities... to provide additional material to the police," the ministry added.

The Israeli authorities has also considered offering compensation to the family of the bystander killed in the incident, according to Reuters.

In Jordan, the guard has meanwhile been charged in absentia with two counts of murder and bearing an unlicensed firearm, Jordanian media report, citing the country’s Attorney General, Dr Akram Masaadeh.