Netanyahu Confirms: Israel 'Expressed Regret' to Jordan for Nationals Killed by Guard, to Pay Compensation

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FILE PHOTO: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Jordan's King Abdullah II
FILE PHOTO: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Jordan's King Abdullah II Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel had expressed regret and sorrow to Jordan over the killing of two of its citizens that were killed in a confrontation with an Israeli embassy guard in Amman last year.

Speaking to journalists on his returning with him from India, Netanyahu expressed regret and confirmed that Israel will pay the Jordanian government compensation for the death of the two citizens, but will not award compensation to the family of the victims.

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When asked if the sides could have conducted themselves better, Netanyahu said, "I'm sure both of the sides have drawn conclusions from this incident. I have done in it on our side and I think that Jordan has done it for its side.

"We have a strong interest in this relationship," Netanyahu said, adding that that was the reason "for the resolution of the crisis."

On Saturday, Netanyahu also thanked Jared Kushner, top aide and son-in-law of U.S. President Donald Trump, as well as Jason Greenblatt, U.S. special envoy to the Middle East, for their role in ending the diplomatic crisis.

He also said he would soon decide on the identity of Israel's new ambassador to Jordan. "I value very much the ambassador who was there and this will be reflected in her next appointment," he said.

Jordan said Thursday that Israel has formally apologized for the deaths of two of its citizens, who were killed by an Israeli security guard last July in an incident that has soured ties and led to the closure of the Israeli embassy in Amman, state media said. 

The Prime Minister's Office said that Israel and Jordan had reached an agreement on the embassy killing, as well as the incident in which a Jordanian judge was killed in March 2014. Israel added that its embassy will resume full activity immediately.

Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad al Momani was quoted by state news agency Petra as saying the Israeli Foreign Ministry had sent a memorandum in which it sent its "deep regrets and apologies."

In addition to the Jordanian incident, the prime minister also touched on a number of other topics with journalists on his flight home from a six-day state visit to India.

Summing up his visit to India, he said he thought it would be remembered for a long time, and one that would have influence on the two countries' economcic,technological, political and security ties.

According to the premier, the cancelled $500 million Spike missile deal is now back on the table. A fast direct Israel-India flight route is being discussed, as is India's support for Israel's acceptance to the Bank of Asia.

When questioned about the possibility of peace negotiations with the Palestinians in light of President Mahmoud Abbas's declaration that he didn't see the U.S. as a viable peace mediator, he said, "If Abbas doesn’t want the U.S., then he doesn’t want peace."

Netanyahu also touched on the topic of relations with Turkey saying that although diplomatic relations had been renewed and indictments against IDF soldiers and officers had been halted, "we still hear harsh statements against Israel from time to time by Turkey, and we also see that it continues to support Hamas."

The prime minister said that he would consider meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

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