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Israel invokes diplomatic immunity after 2 Jordanians shot dead near embassy

Police wrap up probe, say argument ended in killings

By Mohammad Ghazal - Jul 25,2017 - Last updated at Jul 25,2017

AMMAN — Relatives of the two Jordanians killed by an Israeli embassy staffer during a shooting in a residential building in front of the embassy in Amman said the two were never known for violent behaviour.

Meanwhile, legal experts have called for pressing criminal charges against the Israeli national.

A 16-year-old Jordanian, Mohammad Jawawdeh, was killed during the shooting in a residential building in Al Rabieh neighbourhood near the Israeli embassy on Sunday. A Jordanian doctor, who owned the building, was also shot during the incident and died later that night. 

The doctor was identified as Bashar Kamel Hamarneh, who worked as a senior consultant and orthopaedic surgeon.

Police said late Monday that they concluded the investigation into the incident and referred the case to the concerned prosecutor general.

Public security investigators concluded that an argument over “delay in delivering furniture to the embassy staffer’s apartment” by the Jordanian victim developed into a physical attack on the embassy employee by Jawawdeh causing him injuries. 

The diplomat responded by gunfire that also hit the building’s owner, who died of his injuries later in the day.   

Hamarneh, who had a clinic in Amman, owned the residential building opposite the Israeli embassy, a source from his professional circle, who preferred not to be named, told The Jordan Times. He was survived by a son and a daughter. 

“The doctor did not come to the office on Sunday. He took the day off because he had ordered some new furniture for an apartment in the building that he owns. He took the day off to be with the carpenters so they could install the bedroom and the furniture,” she said.

“The last time I saw him was on Saturday.  He was a very kind person with everybody. May his soul rest in peace,” she said.

A friend of the Hamarneh family, who was at his house on Sunday, said: “We are all in shock.”

“The doctor was a very lovely, passionate and kind person,” the family’s friend told The Jordan Times over the phone on Monday.

Speaking on Monday, Jawawdeh’s father said: “My son is not part of any political group. He does not have any political orientation.”

“I want to know what happened. He just went there to install the furniture. He was killed in cold blood,” his father said in remarks to the press.

“I want to stress one thing, which is that the apartment is outside the Israeli embassy. We sold the furniture to a Jordanian client,” he said, in an apparent attempt to distance himself from the charge of “normalisating ties” with Israel, as he was accused in social media comments. 

Imran Jawawdeh, Mohammad’s cousin, said the young boy had never shown violent tendencies.

“Mohammad is just a boy. He loved his school. He was working with his father at their furniture store in Al Musdar area, downtown Amman, because it is the summer holiday. He usually helps his father in summer when there are no classes. He went with other carpenters to the apartment to install the furniture, as it is the case with any client,” Jawawdeh told The Jordan Times Monday.

“We demand to know the truth. Knowing his personality and how quiet he is, he would never attack anyone.  He had never hurt anybody…in addition, any person that would enter that area where the embassy is gets thoroughly searched,” he said.

“The truth should not be buried,” said Jawawdeh.

Karam Abu Rayyan, Mohammad’s friend, said: “Mohammad is my close friend and I’ve known him for more than 8 years. He would never ever think of doing anything violent. I believe he is a victim.”

“We are all sad. We still have not received his body for the burial. I will miss him so much. He was so close to me and all I remember about him is his laugh and being nice to everyone,” said Abu Rayyan.

Haaretz reported that the Israeli staffer is an accredited diplomat, immune from interrogation and arrest under the Vienna Convention.

Jordan has demanded to interrogate the Israeli guard who shot the two Jordanians, but Israel has refused to hand him over. Israel is refusing to allow the questioning of the guard, who is currently in the embassy compound, saying he has diplomatic immunity, Haaretz reported.

But Saleh Armouti, former president of the Jordan Bar Association and current MP, said the convention applies only to ambassadors and consuls.

He added that the Israeli staffer should be tried in line with the Jordanian Penal Code, which governs any crime that is committed on Jordanian soil, whether by a Jordanian or a foreigner.

“He does not enjoy any immunity, whether legal or diplomatic. This is a murder and he should be tried for committing such a murder. Interrogating him is a must and is allowed by law,” Armouti told The Jordan Times on Monday. 


“Working as a security guard does not give him the immunity to kill defenceless Jordanians,” said Armouti, who is also a lawmaker.

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