Israel: “ We never apologized to the Jordanians”
Jordanian officials: “ Whatever the Israelis said, we considered it an apology”
By Ali Younes
In the aftermath of the murder of judge Raed Zeiter on March 10, Jordanians reacted with angry protests demonstrations against their government’s reaction which was described by protesters as “ cowardice” , and “complacent to the Israelis” . They also demanded the cancelation of the 1994 peace treaty with Israel, recalling the Jordanian ambassador from Tel-Aviv and kicking the Israeli ambassador from Amman.
The Jordanian government did nothing, and survived a vote of confidence with an overwhelming majority voting in its favor. Many social media commentators described the Jordanian Parliament and its members as “ useless” and “shameless” for their support of the government that refused to stand up for the murder of one its citizens.
King Abdullah II did not come out in public to comment on the killing of an unarmed citizen by a foreign country that was supposed to have excellent strategic relations with Jordan . This country, being Israel, apparently has a standing “ shoot-to-kill” orders of unarmed civilians crossing from Jordan. It is unclear as to why the King chose to remain silent when a strong public stance by him would have assured his citizens that he , as their leader, would defend them and protect them when in danger.
As reported earlier by the Arab Daily News, the King was widely criticized in Jordan for his silence and was even embarrassed by the Israelis who not only spoke publicly on the issue without considering a formal apology to Jordan, but also insisted on refusing to issue one or acknowledge some form of responsibly.
The official Jordanian reaction erroneously said in a statement from the Royal Jordanian Court and published by the Arab Daily News that Israeli president Shimon Peres “apologized” to King Abdullah for the shooting death of Judge Zeiter. The Israelis vehemently denied any issuing any “apology” to the Jordanians.
The Arab Daily News published the video and written statement of Mr. Shimon Peres and they contained no formal or informal apology to Jordan. Mr. Peres instead expressed his sadness and expressed his condolences to the Jordanian people while praising “King Abdullah’s leadership and vision.”
Ofer Gendelman, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told us over the phone Israel that “ Prime Minister Netanyahu issued a statement that regretted the incident and there will no further comment while investigation is pending.”
Here is the Israeli statement:
להלן הודעת לשכת התקשורת של שר הביטחון, בעקבות האירוע בגשר אלנבי בשבוע שעבר:
שר הביטחון, משה (בוגי) יעלון, שיגר בימים האחרונים מכתב לממשלת ירדן, והביע צער עמוק על האירוע בגשר אלנבי בו נהרג אזרח ירדני. בימים הקרובים צפויים נציגי צה”ל להציג את ממצאי התחקיר שבוצע לנציגי צבא ירדן.
תקשורת שר הביטחון
Minister of defense media advisor0
Below is an Office of Communications of the Minister of Defence, following the incident at the Allenby Bridge last week:
Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon in recent days sent a letter to the Jordanian government, and expressed deep sorrow over the incident at the Allenby Bridge which killed a Jordanian citizen. The military representatives will to present the findings of the investigation carried out to the representatives of the Jordanian army.
Meanwhile, Jordanian Minister of Information and Communication Mohamad Al-Momani told the Arab Daily News from Amman, Jordan about the nature of the Jordanian reaction and why it appeared to be powerless and angered many Jordanian citizens.
He said that “ we condemned the shooting death of Judge Zeiter in the strongest possible terms , and we called it a crime in public and inside the Parliament house.” Al-Momani also added that we demanded a joint investigation with the Israelis which is currently underway, but said that “Jordan does not rush into things as any stable country that practices statecraft would, therefore, we should wait for the results of the investigation and then take actions.”
When asked what actions Jordan might take against Israel, if the investigation resulted in an Israeli criminal responsibility, he said that “ States, do not get into hypothetical situations, but there will be consequences.” As far as the alleged Israeli “ apology” that the Jordanian side insisted that Israeli leaders have issued and made, Al Momani said, “we take what the Israelis have said as an apology.”
Speaking in flawless English, the American-educated Al-Momani, moreover, defended King Abdullah II stating that “the King made strong statements from day one against the tragic killing of judge Zeiter, and promised the family during his visit to their house to work to bring them justice.”
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon also issued a brief statement last week in Hebrew, which we translated into English, that expressed its “deep sorrow” over the incident at King Hussein/Allenby bridge which resulted in the killing of a Jordanian citizen.” When we asked Mr. Ya’alon’s Spokesman Mr. Ofer Harel if the brief statement of his boss constitute an apology for the Jordanians, he said no. “We never issued an apology to the Jordanians”
(Email ali younes at : aliyounes@theArabDailyNews.com. Follow ali younes on twitter @clearali)
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