Jordan: IDF lying about Allenby incident, dead judge did not try to seize soldier's gun
Palestinians carry the body of Raed Zeiter, 38, during his funeral in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, on March 11, 2014, a day after he was shot dead by the Israeli military. (AFP)
The Jordanian judge who was shot dead by Israeli soldiers on Monday on the King Hussein Bridge crossing did not try to seize the gun of a soldier as Israelis claim, an eyewitness at the scene said Tuesday.
Mohammad Sharif Zaid told The Jordan Times over the phone from Bethlehem that he was standing just metres away from Raed Zeiter, a judge at Amman First Instance court, when the incident took place.
He explained that the incident happened after Israeli forces carried out a search of passengers of the bus that was carrying them to the West Bank. As most passengers went on board except for three, including the judge, the witness and a young Palestinian woman, an Israeli occupation soldier moved towards the bus and pushed the judge, Zaid said.
“The judge and the soldiers had a verbal argument at the entrance of the inspection room,” the witness continued, elaborating that another soldier pushed 38-year-old Zeiter again, causing him to fall on the ground.
He stood up and pushed the soldier “in a dignity reaction” but a soldier pointed the gun towards him and shot a bullet that missed him.
Afterwards, Zaid recalled that the soldier fired again fired shooting Zeiter in the chest as another soldier followed with two other bullets also shot from another soldier penetrating his body.
“It is not true that he tried to take the gun of the soldier,” he added.
“Passengers were shocked and started crying and screaming,” the witness said, adding that the incident took place at around 8:00am.
According to Zaid, tens of Israeli soldiers surrounded the bus to prevent passengers from getting off, while the judge was still bleeding.
First aid medics arrived at the scene nearly half an hour later and tried to perform CPR for the judge but he was already dead, the witness said.
Later on, according to Zaid, investigators arrived and started interrogating passengers individually.
“Do you know this person or do you have any relationship with him? they asked me and others,” he noted, adding that the investigators asked the passengers to tell what happened from the beginning.
The investigators asked about the content of Zeiter's luggage and then decided to have it destroyed with explosives without checking its content.
Zaid indicated that the bus was allowed to leave into the West bank at 2:00pm.
Reuters reported Monday that the Israeli military said Zeiter, a respectable judge with a PhD in law, had tried to seize a soldier’s gun at the King Hussein Bridge — known to Israelis as Allenby Bridge — which spans the Jordan River, and that troops had then shot him.
The killing of the Jordanian judge triggered anger among Jordanians with hundreds demonstrating outside the Israeli embassy in Amman late Monday, calling for the expelling of the ambassador.
Similar protests were held early Tuesday at the Palace of Justice where Zeiter worked as well as in front of Parliament.
The government summoned the Israeli charge d’affaires in Amman and protested the shooting of Zeiiter and asked for immediate investigation of the incident.
MPs also expressed anger over the killing of Zeiter, blaming Israel for the “heinous crime”.
- Jordan demands Israel investigates shooting of judge at Allenby border crossing
- Syrian opposition demands investigation into ambush of Islamist fighters
- Palestinian killed at Allenby was a Jordanian judge
- Syria to expel Jordanian charge d'affaires
- U.S. investigators: Israeli teens shot ten times with silenced gun