Jordan's King: Netanyahu Exploited Israeli Embassy Shooting for Political Gain

King Abdallah slams the prime minister, says the way Israel deals with the shooter will have a direct impact on ties between the two countries

Jordan's King Abdullah attends a joint news conference following a meeting with the French president at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 19, 2017.
Jordan's King Abdullah attends a joint news conference following a meeting with the French president at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 19, 2017. GONZALO FUENTES/REUTERS

Jordan's King Abdullah II said on Thursday that the way Israel deals with its security guard who shot two Jordanian citizens outside the Israeli embassy in Jordan last week would directly affect relations between the two countries.

The king, speaking after returning from a vacation in the U.S., strongly criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that he exploited the crisis at the Amman embassy to amass personal political capital.

Abdullah made his comments following a discussion with senior officials in Jordan's national political council.

"The Israeli prime minister must take responsibility and carry the legal steps that include prosecuting the shooter and attaining justice, not handling this crime with political displays," the king said. He added that Netanyahu's "behavior was provocative and enrages us and fuels extremism in the region, and it is completely unacceptable."

The king's remarks were further evidence of his anger at the way Netanyahu greeted Israeli Ambassador to Amman Einat Shlein and the security guard, his public announcements on the subject, and the publication of videos of the meeting between Netanyahu and the security guard.

During the meeting, Abdullah expressed his condolences to the families of the two Jordanians killed in the incident. On Wednesday, King Abdullah bureau chief Faiz Tarawneh arrived at the family mourning tent and promised that Jordan would demand Israel put the shooter on trial.

A senior Israeli official said the Jordanian government officially told Israel saying that it will not allow the Israeli ambassador, Einat Schlein, to return to Amman unless Israel conducts a serious and thorough investigation of the Israeli security guard who shot and killed two Jordanian civilians. The message was conveyed by Jordan's ambassador in Israel Walid Obeidat to senior officials at the Foreign Ministry. The senior official said that the message was in accordance with a report earlier in the day by the Jordanian daily Al-Rad.