Regional Tensions Diffused after Israeli Security Guard Attacked in Jordan

PM Netanyahu speaks with Israeli Amb. Shlain & embassy security guard.

The Israelis managed to successfully work out the return of an embassy security officer from Jordan on Monday after the officer was forced to defend himself against a Jordanian attacker, killing him. The motive behind the Jordanian attack is unclear. It came against the backdrop of Arab anger over Israel installing metal detectors to prevent terror attacks at the entrance to the Temple Mount, which houses the Islamic Dome of the Rock shrine and has sparked major protests.

However, the Jordanian news agency Petra reported that the incident occurred after a disagreement at the officer’s apartment at the Israeli embassy over work being done by Jordanian carpenters. Petra claimed that after the dispute turned physical, one of the carpenters stabbed the Israeli, who shot and killed the carpenter. The landlord of the apartment was also killed in the incident. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that the Israeli was attacked from behind and stabbed with a screwdriver. Both reports indicated the Jordanian struck first and the Israeli responded in self-defense.

Yet despite that fact, the potential for a diplomatic crisis remained, especially given the Temple Mount tensions. In just one day, the Israeli was returned home to Israel and the crisis appears to have been averted.

Jeff Greenblatt was sent as an envoy from United States President Donald Trump to assist with the delicate situation, a move that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appreciated. In comments released by his office, he thanked President Trump for helping “with our efforts to bring the Israeli embassy staff home quickly. I thank [Jordanian] King Abdullah as well for our close cooperation.”

A separate statement from Netanyahu’s office said that the Israeli officer was “well.” Said the statement, “The return of the Embassy personnel was made possible thanks to the close cooperation that took place over the past 24 hours between Israel and Jordan.”

Ultimately, as a member of the embassy in Jordan, the Israeli security officer held diplomatic immunity and could not be prosecuted by Jordan according to the Vienna Convention, noted the MFA report.

Israel and Jordan have held a formal peace accord for two decades, although relations have at times been complicated. This is not the first time that a Jordanian has attacked an Israeli during this time of national peace. Just three years ago, a Jordanian attacked an Israeli soldier at the crossing between the two nations, while in 1997 a Jordanian soldier murdered seven Israeli schoolgirls.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, July 24, 2017)


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