Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said that Israel was working to try to end a growing crisis with Jordan and to bring home an Israeli security guard who shot dead two Jordanians at the Israeli Embassy compound in Amman after he was attacked by one of them with a screwdriver.
Speaking in Jerusalem alongside Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Netanyahu said that he spoke twice with Israel’s Ambassador to Jordan Einat Shalin following Sunday’s incident, as well as with the security guard.
“I promised the security official that we will work to return him to Israel; we are already experienced in this,” he said. “I told the two of them that we are in constant contact with government and security officials in Amman at all levels, in order to bring as quick an end as possible to the incident.
The comments came as Jordanian officials said they would not allow the Israeli guard to leave or extend diplomatic immunity to him, threatening a larger diplomatic crisis over the issue, amid already sky-high tensions over Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.
Some in Jordan have called for the guard to be tried and executed over the incident.
The Temple Mount, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, is administered by a Jordanian controlled Islamic trust, and Amman has been highly critical of what it perceives to be any changes to the status quo at the holy site.
On Monday, Jordanian officials told the al-Ghad daily that Jordan will not allow the Israeli security guard to leave the country and must hand him over to be interrogated over the incident, with one government source saying that Amman would escalate the diplomatic standoff with Jerusalem until he is turned over for questioning.
The Israeli security guard, who was injured during the attack, enjoys diplomatic immunity according to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and is safe from arrest and investigation, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday morning.
In light of the diplomatic crisis, Israel’s security cabinet was set to meet on Monday afternoon to discuss the matter, after having convened for more than six hours overnight.
The Arab League will hold an urgent meeting on Thursday to discuss the escalating crisis surrounding Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, amid widespread unrest in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The meeting was called by Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, who on Sunday discussed the tensions with his Norwegian, French, German and Swedish counterparts.
In a series of tweets, Safadi said Jordan was working to “protect [and] restore calm” to the holy site in Jerusalem.
An official from the Arab League told Jordan’s Petra news agency that coordination with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation was underway on the issue of Jerusalem.
Deadly clashes have rocked Jerusalem since Israeli authorities installed metal detectors at entrances to the Temple Mount after a July 14 terror attack in which three armed Arab-Israelis emerged from the holy site and shot dead two police officers standing at the Lions Gate, an access point to the compound.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday also warned of intervention by the Muslim international community over the metal detectors and ensuing clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops.
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