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Jordan reacts with anger to Israel’s killing of judge

By Omar Obeidat , Khaled Neimat , Agencies - Mar 11,2014 - Last updated at Mar 11,2014

AMMAN/OCCUPIED JERUSALEM/NABLUS — Jordanian people, government and Parliament reacted with anger over the killing of Jordanian Judge Raed Zuaiter by Israeli soldiers on Monday. 

The incident drew a strong statement from Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, who said that Israel takes all the blame for the “heinous crime”.

He insisted that “the Israeli government’s excuses do not justify this treacherous act”. 

The premier was speaking at a House meeting, during which several MPs took turns speaking against the killing, demanding the government abolish the 1994 peace treaty with Israel, expel the ambassador and release a Jordanian soldier, Ahmad Daqamseh, who has been in jail for 17 years for killing female Israeli students in the Jordan Valley.

Several MPs agreed to press ahead with a motion to withdraw confidence from the government if it does not respond firmly to the Israeli actions. 

The lawmakers will continue the discussion on Wednesday. 

While the judiciary started a separate investigation in Amman, Israel expressed “regret” Tuesday over the shooting of the judge at the crossing bridge, but its army insisted he had attacked soldiers and tried to grab a gun.

An eyewitness speaking to The Jordan Times over the phone from Bethlehem refuted the Israeli account, stressing that the 38-year-old jurist, who was laid to rest in Nablus on Tuesday, only reacted to an Israeli soldier who insulted him by pushing him.


Tel Aviv also agreed to Jordan’s request to carry out a joint probe into the incident.

An Israeli diplomat told Israeli army radio that Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh used harsh language when he summoned him to the ministry Monday. 

The angry reactions that started immediately after the word spread of the killing of Zuaiter continued on a larger scale and with a sharper tone on Tuesday, with hundreds of lawyers and judges staging a sit-in at the main court building in Amman (see story on page 3).

The Senate called for opening a joint “neutral” investigation into the incident, stressing the need to put an end to the Israeli “disrespect” and hold perpetrators accountable. 

Parties, human rights and legal organisations, universities and associations denounced the killing of the Amman Court of First Instance judge. 

They called for forming a special court to try Israeli leaders and those involved in such atrocities and expelling the Israeli ambassador to Jordan. 

In addition, they urged Arab and Muslim states to cut their political, diplomatic and economic ties with Israel.

Hundreds of Palestinians turned out Tuesday for the funeral of Zuaiter, accompanying the body — which was wrapped in a Jordanian and Palestinian flag — to its burial place in the West Bank town of Nablus, where he had been heading to visit relatives.  

“They killed my only son in cold blood,” said his father Ala-Eddine, a retired Jordanian judge, who had travelled from Amman.

“My son was unarmed; he wouldn’t even know how to use a weapon.”

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