Peres Calls King Abdullah to Apologize for Judge's Death

Israeli president expresses deep regret to family and to the people of Jordan.

President Shimon Peres called King Abdullah of Jordan by phone on Monday to express regret over the incident at Allenby border crossing in which Raed Zueter, a Jordanian magistrate of Palestinian descent, was shot to death by Israeli soldiers.

Peres had already sent a letter of condolence to the king over the incident last week.

During the conversation, the president said, he expressed his condolences to the Jordanian people on behalf of the State of Israel, and also conveyed "deep regret" to the judge's family.

Peres added that Israel ascribes the greatest importance to its relations with Jordan and to the peace agreement between the two countries. "King Abdullah II is a leader with vision. Under his leadership Jordan has played a central role in advancing peace and stability in the Middle East," Peres stated.

The incident triggered mass demonstrations in Amman, where thousands of protesters called on Abdullah to void the 1994 treaty with Israel. Some protesters tried to mount an attack on the Israeli embassy in the Jordanian capital, but were rebuffed by Jordanian police. The Jordanian parliament held two emergency sessions regarding the incident.

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a a statement expressing "regret" for Zueter's death and sending "sympathies to the people and government of Jordan."

Israel has also shared the results of its preliminary investigation with Jordan, and agreed to a Jordanian request to establish a joint investigation into Zueter's killing.