Jordan government, King criticized for mishandling Israeli killing of unarmed Judge

Jordan government, King  criticized for mishandling Israeli killing of unarmed Judge
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Jordan government, King  criticized for mishandling Israeli killing of unarmed Judge

By Ali Younes

Bus from Israeli Border to Amman – Jordan (Photo credit: betta design)

Israeli soldiers shot and killed an unarmed Jordanian judge on Monday  at the Allenby crossing bridge between Jordan and the West Bank  after reportedly arguing with Israeli border guards on his way back to Amman from the West Bank. Official Israeli statements claimed that the judge “tried to seize the soldier’s weapon when he was shot and killed.”

Jordanian press reported on eyewitness accounts  that contradicted  the Israeli version of events  and said that the judge “ was never physically threatening the soldiers, and “ was unarmed when he was shot from a point-blank range. ” The Jordanian Ministry of Justice identified the man as Ra’ed  Zu’eiter, 38, a judge in the magistrates court in Amman.

Angry Jordanian citizens protested the killing by demonstrating at the Israeli embassy in Amman demanding its closer and kicking the Israeli ambassador out  from Amman. Jordanian newspapers also reported that protesters criticized Prime Minister Abdullah Ennsour for not taking strong measures against Israel in retaliation to the killing of judge Zu’eiter.  Al Jazeera Arabic website reported that protesters  went as far as criticizing  King Abdullah II who has yet to  issue a public statement  and did not comment publicly on the shooting death of one of his citizens.

Jordanian News Agency Petra reported that Jordanian foreign Minister Nasser Judeh “summoned the Israeli charge d’affaires at the Israeli embassy in Amman to express Jordan’s strong condemnation of the shooting of Judge Ra’ed Aladdine Zu’eiter.”

Jerash to Jordan River Border Crossing

Jerash to Jordan River Border Crossing (Photo credit: stuartpike)

Moreover,  the Jordanian government demanded an “  immediate investigation of the incident “ and from Israel to establish a joint investigation commission to investigate the incident.

The  official Jordanian reaction strikes me as  powerless and befitting of a failed state not a country that prides itself as one of the Middle East’s most secured nations and has one of its best armed forces.  But when it  comes to Israel or its actions against Jordanian citizens or in the Palestinian territories or in matters of Jerusalem and its holy places, the government of Jordan blows a lot of hot air, but never real substantive actions .

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The Jordanian parliament, moreover and which in essence a rubber stamp parliament,  is even worse than the government when it comes to the  real issues that matters to the citizens of Jordan .

The Parliament has on many occasions passed rather “ decorative” resolutions to kick the Israeli ambassador out from Amman. Some of the sponsors of these run-of-the mill resolutions have told me personally that , their resolutions were never meant to be acted upon, not only because they are not legally binding, but because they were made as publicity stunts.

What’s even worst in this tragic incident that took the life of a young and bright judge, is the absence of King Abdullah’s reaction  to the killing of one of his citizens who was not just any citizen, but also an official in his judiciary.  Why the king has not reacted yet  to this flagrant killing of a Jordanian citizen remains a mystery. It is telling , however, that  many former senior officials questioned the King’s silence and how angry and frustrated Jordanians are with the feckless actions of their feckless  leaders.

Sources in Amman, in addition, told me that the Jordanian government is hoping that the Israelis will come up with a plausible story so that they, meaning  the Jordanian government can sell it to its people to quell the angry protests. If this turned out to be true, and it is not an unusual behavior by the Jordanian government,  it should be considered a serious breach of public trust  if not an outright treasonous. The King meanwhile needs to step up and address these important issues and send a strong message to Israel that its actions will have consequences.

(Ali Younes is the Editor of the Arab Daily News online newspaper.)

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Ali Younes


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