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‘Our ultimate saviour in hard times’

Aug 01,2017 - Last updated at Aug 01,2017

As responsible leaders whose countries’ and peoples’ interests are always ahead of any other consideration do, His Majesty King Abdullah rushed back home from a business tour to deal with a developing critical fresh crisis.

As a matter of fact, the King is never absent. Whether at home or abroad, he constantly monitors the situation meticulously and acts promptly and accordingly; and he continues to conduct contacts and hold meetings with influential international figures to address outstanding regional and national issues.

Since mid-July, when Israel reacted to a Palestinian attack on Israeli policemen near Bab Al Asbat in Jerusalem  by closing Al Aqsa Mosque and then installing electronic gates to screen all Muslim worshippers, His Majesty King Abdullah’s efforts, as custodian of the Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem, had been relentlessly working against Israel’s illegal and crippling measures.

Under enormous pressure, primarily from the King, supported by massive rallies around Al Aqsa Mosque as Palestinians were rejecting the metal detectors and refusing to enter Al Haram Al Sharif compound under Israeli security restrictions, Israel had to cancel all its security arrangements, open the holy site without restrictions and restore the situation to where it was before July 14.

The Palestinian problem has topped the King’s agenda in all his international efforts.

He constantly warns that the failure to resolve this historic dispute is largely responsible for the prevailing political instability and rising violence in our region and beyond.

Simultaneously, King Abdullah added the Israel embassy crisis of last week to his “order of the day”.

Right from the first hour, he dealt with it in a manner that firmly, as usual, puts the interests and the rights of Jordan as a sovereign state, as well as the rights of the Jordanian victims, first and foremost.

The murder of two Jordanians at the Israeli embassy last Wednesday, in the bizarre way it happened, shocked the country beyond description. 

Insult was instantly added to the deep injury to our national pride, as well as to our state’s integrity, by the hero’s welcome the murderer was afforded by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who presented the quick recovery of the Israeli embassy staff from Jordan, with the security guard who committed the heinous crime included, as a national victory.

Our officials repeatedly emphasised diplomatic immunity as an excuse for the quick release. They affirmed our commitment to international law, since Jordan is not a “rogue state”, they said, further adding that the only guarantee to protect our rights with respect to that crime is by abiding by our international obligations.

If in principle that sounded correct, it was the interpretation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations rules that left many loopholes in the authorities’ handling of the crisis.

“A diplomatic agent shall enjoy immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the receiving state,” says Paragraph 1 of Article 31 of the Vienna Convention.

But the immunity “does not exempt him from the jurisdiction of the sending state”, says Paragraph 4 of the same article.

And because diplomatic immunity was created to protect clean, correct, respectful, principled and orderly diplomatic practice — certainly not to protect murderers and law breakers — as defined in the Vienna Convention, “immunity may be waived” (Article 32, Paragraph 1) by the sending state if demanded by the receiving state when a diplomatic agent breaks the law in such a flagrant manner as the Israeli security guard did in Amman.

Diplomats are not usually allowed to carry weapons, let alone use them with such unprovoked brutality.

We still need to know if the Israeli “diplomat-security guard” was licensed by the Jordanian authorities to carry the weapon he used to kill Jordanian citizens on Jordanian territory.

Only upon the King’s direct action all the missing drastic steps in the crisis handling were taken care of, putting the Israeli government before its responsibilities, demanding accountability, authentic prosecution and trial of the Israeli murderer, an official public apology to the Jordanian state and people, and due compensation to the victims, in accordance with international law and justice.

 “A staff member of the Israeli embassy in Amman has shot two of our sons. We will dedicate all efforts and resources of the Jordanian state to ensure that justice takes its course,” King Abdullah said.

He also reminded that we are still awaiting the outcome of the Israeli investigation into the 2014 murder of Jordanian judge Raed Zuaiter, who had gone to the West Bank for a visit, by an Israeli soldier who shot and killed him in cold blood, for no known reason.

Israeli press repeated King Abdullah’s strong words against Netanyahu during the meeting of the National Policies Council at Al Husseiniya Palace in Amman.

According to the Times of Israel, on July 27, the King called for the Israeli security guard to be tried and accused Netanyahu of “political showmanship” and of using “this crime to score personal political points”, after the Israeli leader posted photos of himself embracing the guard.

The paper added: “The Monarch threatened the affair would have a negative affect on bilateral ties between Jordan and Israel, directly impacting relations.”

The Israeli paper also repeated some of the tweets of the Royal Palace, which reflected the King’s criticism of Netanyahu. One tweet said: “Such conduct is utterly rejected and provocative. It angers us all, threatens regional security, and fuels extremism. It is absolutely unacceptable.”

Although the Israeli government claims it intends to investigate the crime, it is difficult to hope much from any such investigation.

The Israelis are already claiming that the guard acted in self-defence when the young carpenter sneaked behind him and attacked him with a screwdriver for “nationalistic reasons” they say.

They are trying to link the alleged attack, if it ever happened, to the resistance attacks in the occupied territories.

We did not see any sign of injury on the body of the Israeli guard as he was embraced by Netanyahu. The Israelis are only admitting responsibility of, and offering compensation for, the murder of Dr Bashar Hamarneh, the other Jordanian victim, claiming that he was shot accidentally.

In the face of the flagrant Israeli denial, Jordan made it clear that the Israeli ambassador will not return to Amman before the matter is cleared properly, legally, transparently and convincingly, and as the King demanded, full justice is done.

The King’s visit to the Jawawdeh and Hamarneh families was not just to offer condolences and to comfort their bereaved members; it was a strong message of solidarity with every member of the Jordanian family from the leader.

That is by no means the first such royal gesture.

We, Jordanians, are all proud of our Hashemite leadership.

We are all convinced that this country managed to remain stable and safe in a deeply troubled region, despite the mounting challenges we constantly face, simply because our King has been travelling the length and the breadth of the globe to rally support for Jordan and the Jordanian people.

The effectiveness of his mission, worldwide, rests firmly on his wisdom, credibility, sincerity and responsibility.

As such, King Abdullah is always seen, in all influential world capitals, as well as at all international forums, as the voice of moderation, peace and good advice.

As a result, the stability of Jordan has for decades been seen as key to regional stability.

 

Similarly, on the Jordanian scene, we deeply feel, and rightly so, that King Abdullah, just like his late father, King Hussein, treats all of us as his larger family and is our ultimate saviour in hard times.

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Comments

His Majesty King Abdullah II has done his duty towards Jordanian Citizens, but unfortunately most members of the Upper House of Jordanian Parliament have not done the minimal duties towards the injustice done to the Jordanian people during the Isaraeli Embassy Incident.

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