Details of what happened at the Israeli embassy in Amman, Jordan last month remain in dispute. While Israeli and Jordanian media have been filled with competing accounts of why an Israeli embassy security guard shot and killed two Jordanians—one of them a Christian relative of an influential Jordanian parliamentarian—they agree on this: the attack, interwoven with tensions over Israeli security measures in the wake of an earlier terrorist attack on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, have triggered a crisis in relations between Israel and one of its closest Arab allies.
The drama began at 4 p.m. on a sweltering afternoon on July 23rd, when two Jordanians, one of whom owned the building which houses the Israeli embassy in the wealthy Rabia district of the Jordanian capital, entered the embassy compound to deliver bedroom furniture. At 6:30 p.m., an argument ensued—over what has not been disclosed. But Ziv Moyal, 28, a security guard at the embassy, shot and killed Mohammed Jawawdeh, a 17-year old Jordanian carpenter of Palestinian origin, after Jawawdeh attacked him with a screwdriver. Bashar Hamarneh, the doctor who owned the building and had tried separating the two men, was hit by a stray bullet and died as well.
Israel, citing diplomatic immunity, refused Jordan’s demands to turn over Moyal for questioning by Jordanian authorities. And while Israeli censors prevented the Israeli media from disclosing any details about the incident for over a day, Jordanians security forces surrounded the embassy compound and refused to permit the security guard, Ambassador Einat Shlein, or her staff to leave the building.
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