Two Jordanians were killed by an Israeli when violence erupted inside Israeli embassy complex in Jordan.
A security guard reportedly opened fire and killed the two men during a confrontation.
Tensions between Israel and the Arab world have increased in the recent weeks. Israel had installed metal detectors in the al Aqsa mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem. Considered the third holiest site in Sunni Islam, the mosque is revered by the Jews. However, Jews are not allowed to pray within its premises.
The Kingdom of Jordan has been the official custodian of the site for decades and pays for its upkeep. Israeli Security Forces patrol and conduct searches within the perimeter of the mosque. In addition to installing metal detectors, Israeli forces also announced a new set of rules and restrictions. Muslim men under 50 years of age are now barred from entering the complex.
Thousands of Palestinians have taken to the streets to protest the new rules. This has resulted in widespread violence with casualties on both sides.
Relations between Israel and Jordan have been relatively stable since 1994, when the two countries signed a peace treaty.
The incident in the Israeli embassy marks a shift in Jordan. The tightly policed country rarely sees any violence against Israelis. However, on Friday thousands of Jordanians took to the streets to protest Israel’s actions. Many of the 7 million Jordanians are of Palestinian origin. Jordan has called on Israel to remove the metal detectors.
The shooting took place on July 23rd evening. Two Jordanians working for a furniture company entered the premises to conduct repairs. One of them reportedly charged at the guard with a screwdriver. The guard is said to have acted in self-defense when he opened fire. The assailant, a 17-year-old identified as Mohammed Zakaria al-Jawawdeh, succumbed to the injuries. The owner of the compound, who was also present at the scene, has died having been caught in the crossfire.
Israeli government has denied Jordan’s request to question the guard, citing the diplomatic immunity he has under the Vienna Convention. The building has been evacuated and sealed off.
Our assessment is that this is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict being played out in a third country. It is important to note that Jordan, a traditional ally of Israel has asked the barricades to be removed. Turkey and Lebanon have condemned the Israeli move while United States has expressed its deep concern. Egypt and Saudi Arabia have called upon the international community to intervene and assuage the deeply hurt sentiments of the Muslims.