A Palestinian Arab who serves as a magistrates court judge in neighboring Jordan (where a majority of the population is make up of Palestinians) was shot dead on Monday while reportedly attacking Israeli Border Police officers manning the Allenby Bridge crossing between the Jewish state and the Hashemite Kingdom.
According to the Israeli army, Raed Zeiter, who in 2011 moved from the “West Bank” to Amman, charged toward an Israeli soldier with a metal pipe while shouting “Allah Akbar” - “Allah is Great.”
“The preliminary conclusion of the investigation indicates that the terrorist attacked the soldier. He charged at the soldiers shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ with a metal pole, and then attempted to seize the soldier’s weapon, prompting the soldiers to respond by firing towards his lower extremities, in line with standard operating procedures,” read an Israeli army statement.
After being shot in the legs, Zeiter is said to have then began choking a nearby soldier, prompting another burst of fire that killed him.
The official explanation was viewed with skepticism by Jordan, which demanded an inquiry into the incident. Israel government officials said they were working overtime to investigate the shooting and provide Amman with the results as quickly as possible.
Jordan’s Minister of State for Media Affairs, Mohammad Momani, told reporters that his government would take “firm measures” against Israel as soon as all the facts were in.
In the meantime, some 200 demonstrators gathered outside the Israeli Embassy in Amman on Monday night, demanding the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and the cancellation of Jordan’s peace treat with the Jewish state.
Security incidents between Israel and Jordan have been few and far between over the past two decades, during which the two countries have for the most part enjoyed peaceful coexistence.
The last major security incident occurred in 1997, when Jordanian soldier Ahmed Daqamseh massacred seven Israeli school children who were visiting the Island of Peace in the midst of the Jordan River. The late King Hussein traveled to the victims’ hometown of Beit Shemesh to offer his personal condolences and apologize on behalf of his nation. However, in 2011, Jordan’s minister of justice argued that Daqamseh should be freed from prison, as his brutal murder of Israeli children was a “heroic act.”