Anger and Confusion Following Fatal Amman Embassy Shooting

Published July 24th, 2017 - 02:51 GMT
Two Jordanians were killed near the Israeli embassy in Amman on Sunday (Khalil Mazraawi/AFP)
Two Jordanians were killed near the Israeli embassy in Amman on Sunday (Khalil Mazraawi/AFP)

On Sunday evening reports started coming in of a shooting near the Israeli embassy in the Jordanian capital Amman.

First pictures from around the #IsraeliEmbassy in #Amman after a shooting

It was soon announced that two Jordanians had died and an Israeli security guard had been injured in the incident at a residence within the Israeli embassy complex

However, accounts of the exact order of events have varied, as have reports of the ‘diplomatic incident’ that followed.

The Israeli authorities have suggested that the guard acted in self defense, after a teenage worker attacked him with a screwdriver.

In an interview, the father of Mohammad Jawawdah, the young Jordanian killed, called for a full investigation into his son's death.

Saying that his son was not a trouble-maker, or affiliated to any groups or political parties, Zakria Jawawdah on Monday demanded to know why the boy had been killed.

Senior Jordanian officials told the Jordan's Al-Rai newspaper that Jordanian police are insisting on interrogating the Israeli guard before allowing him to leave the country. Israel is refusing to allow questioning of the guard, citing diplomatic immunity, a Haaretz report suggested. The guard reportedly remains in the embassy.

Online, many Jordanians speculated that the blame lay with the Israeli official involved, and accused the Israeli media of distorting the truth.

The kid is 16-year-old... and he wasn't carrying any weapon, so he didn't have any intent. Of course this Jewish man provoked him so he stabbed him with the screwdriver, and Israel is hiding all the facts.

Jordanian TV presenter Dima Faraj:

Whatever the differences in the accounts, we have lost young men for no reason, may they rest in peace.

For as long as they have existed, Zionists have been a people of lies. The Israeli account is incorrect and justice must be brought for the martyr, and their is no justice without revenge.

Another tweeted to criticize media coverage for disproportionately representing ‘Palestinian’ violence against Israelis.

On Friday, Amman played host to large protests against Israeli actions regarding the holy site of al-Aqsa in Jerusalem.

Palestinians are angry over additional security measures that were introduced at the site following the fatal shooting of two Israeli police officers. This is because these were run by the Israeli Border Police, rather than the the Islamic Waqf, the body that controls the compound according to an agreement between Israel and Jordan, thus threatening the status quo since 1967.

A large proportion of Jordanians have Palestinian origins, with the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics putting their number at 3.24 million in 2009, or more than half the population. It is not surprising, then, that anti-Israel sentiment runs high in Jordan and the Israeli embassy is protected by considerable security measures.

However, on an official level Jordan has fairly good ties with Israel, being the second Arab nation to normalize relations with Israel in 1994. It is not clear what effect this "diplomatic crisis" will have on those relations.

On the other side, some Israelis were also angry at what they felt was a misrepresentation of the incident in the media.


The wording of a "terrorist" being "neutralized" after "lightly injuring" is that used in much of Israeli media coverage of a spate of copy-cat incidents in the West Bank since 2015 in which (mostly very young) Palestinians have attempted to stab soldiers only to be shot dead. 

This narrative can serve to belie the reality that the majority of those killed in these attacks are the Palestinians themselves, who are often minors. The Guardian reported last month that 42 Israelis had been killed in stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks carried out by Palestinians since September 2015 while 250 Palestinians, "mostly identified as attackers by Israel' were killed by Israeli fire in that time.

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