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Jordanian AG charges Israeli security guard with murder 

Jordan’s Attorney General Akram Masaadeh is reportedly pursuing murder charges against the Israeli embassy security guard who killed two Jordanians when he was stabbed with a screwdriver outside Israel’s embassy in Amman.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry maintains that the guard acted in self-defense during what the guard claimed was a “nationalistic” attack.

The guard, whose name was released by the Jordanian press, returned to Israel last Monday on the grounds of diplomatic immunity from prosecution in Jordan. Nevertheless, Masaadeh reportedly told Jordanian media this did not prevent the guard from being charged and tried in Israel. Masaadeh also wants to see the guard charged with carrying an unlicensed weapon.

Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad revealed the guard’s identity on Sunday, publishing a photo identity card from the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Protocol Department with the name Ziv Chai Mordechai Moyal written in Arabic. The newspaper did not write the guard’s name but showed the photo.

Identity card of Israeli security official, Ziv Moyal, published by Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad, July 30, 2017 (Photo courtesy)
Identity card of Israeli security official, Ziv Moyal, published by Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad, July 30, 2017 (Photo courtesy)

“This is the Israeli that killed two Jordanians, Mohammad Jawawdah and the doctor Bashar Hamarnah, in what has been termed the ‘Israeli embassy crime’,” the newspaper wrote. “The shooting was carried out in a building that belongs to the embassy in Amman, last Sunday night.”

Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit told security cabinet ministers last week that, under the terms of the Vienna Convention, Israel must investigate the killings as the guard was returned from a host country that had afforded him diplomatic immunity.

Jordan had originally wanted to hold the guard for investigation but, following an intervention by the U.S., agreed to release him.

Jordan said no deal had been reached for the release and that it had only acted in accordance with international law. Nevertheless, the guard’s release came at the same time as the removal of the Temple Mount metal detectors for which the Jordanian government had been demanding.

The Times of Israel reported that King Abdullah II was angered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s high profile and warm welcome home of the guard. The King reportedly said the prime minister had used the incident to score political points and that this would negatively impact Jordan-Israel relations.

Indeed, Haaretz reported that the Israeli Foreign Office was given a message through Jordan’s ambassador that Israel cannot reopen its embassy in Amman unless it thoroughly investigates the guard’s killings of the Jordanians.

Karen Faulkner
Karen Faulkner is a British Israeli citizen. She has a Master's degree in Human Rights & Transitional Justice from Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

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