Jordanian father wants son’s killer to face justice

Zakariya al-Jawawdeh reacts to Israeli order to examine July 23 shooting in Amman that left his son and a doctor dead.

Mohammed al-Jawawdeh is seen in this photo from the Jawawdeh family album
Jawawdeh was fatally shot by an Israeli embassy guard [Photo courtesy of Jawawdeh family]

The father of 17-year-old Jordanian Mohammed al-Jawawdeh, who was fatally shot by an Israeli embassy guard in Amman on July 23, says he wants his son’s killer to face justice.

Zakariya al-Jawawdeh was reacting on Saturday to the Israeli government’s announcement that it would conduct a preliminary investigation into the shooting to death of two Jordanians by the guard who the kingdom says should face criminal prosecution.

The embassy guard, later identified as “Ziv”, shot and killed Mohammed and Dr Bashar Hamarneh, the owner of a property rented out to the Israeli embassy in Amman.

The Jordanian government established a security zone around the Israeli embassy, which included Hamarneh’s property. As it was a closed security zone, Hamarneh, like others from the area, had no other reasonable choice but to rent their properties to the Israeli embassy.

The Hamarneh family issued a statement “strongly denouncing the crime committed by the Zionists” against Dr Hamaraneh and al-Jawawdeh. The statement also called on the Jordanian government “to take all measures to stand up and punish the criminals and defend the national honor”.


READ MORE: Deadly shooting incident at Israeli embassy in Jordan

Israel’s attorney general on Friday ordered police to “look into” the shootings, the Israeli justice ministry said in a statement, using terminology signifying a preliminary probe that could be upgraded into a criminal investigation if warranted.

“Further along, as findings arise, the option will be considered of asking the Jordanian authorities … to provide additional material to the police,” the ministry said.

Zakariya told Al Jazeera: “I don’t mind the guard facing the Israeli or any legal system so long as he faces justice and my son’s blood does not go in vain.”

Jordanian version

Mohammed was supposed to deliver and install a bedroom set at the embassy residence that was ordered by the Israeli embassy through Hamarneh.

The Jordanian government initially said that Jawawdeh “stabbed” the embassy guard during an altercation, who in turn acted in “self-defence” and shot the boy.

The Jordanian government later changed its official story and said the Israeli had “committed a double-homicide crime”.

Citing the guard’s diplomatic immunity, Israel repatriated him and other embassy staff after the incident, which stirred up anger in Jordan, where the 1994 peace deal between the countries is unpopular and pro-Palestinian sentiment widespread.

It is unclear why the guard also shot and killed Hamarneh, who was inside the apartment when the shooting occurred and may have been the only witness besides the guard himself.

According to the Israeli government’s version, the guard fired in self-defence after being stabbed by a screwdriver-wielding Jordanian workman, who was killed along with a Jordanian bystander hit by stray gunfire.

Zakariya told Al Jazeera that Mohammed would never have attacked the guard, especially because he was so young while the guard was a fully armed and highly trained Israeli security officer.

Netanyahu’s embrace

Mohammed’s uncle, Sami al-Jawawdeh, told Al Jazeera: “Armed Israelis will not hesitate for a second before shooting and killing an Arab for whatever reason.

“They think they are so superior to us and they can kill us with impunity.”

Immediately after the incident, the embassy guard and staff crossed the border into Israel, where he was seen in a video being embraced by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, a gestured that angered the Jordanian public.

The shooting of Jawawdeh stirred anger among Jordanians against Israel [File: Reuters]
The shooting of Jawawdeh stirred anger among Jordanians against Israel [File: Reuters]

In his first public comments on the case, King Abdullah criticised Netanyahu last week for the embrace, calling it provocative and destabilising.

Abdullah later visited the families of both Jordanian victims to pay his respects.

Zakariya, who quoted Abdullah as telling him “Your son is like my son, and I will not give up on his right”, told Al Jazeera: “I have faith in King Abdullah. He came to my house and assured me that he will personally bring my son justice.”

He further said Fayez al-Tarawneh, chief of the royal court, called him to tell him personally that the government of Jordan was already working on Mohammed’s case.

Zakariya quoted Tarawneh as telling him: “We have started working on behalf of your son and we have hired international lawyers to follow through on this case. Your son is our son and we will not abandon his case.”

Zakariya told Al Jazeera that Jordanian police have not shared with him the results of their investigation.

Father’s account

Insisting that his son had no inclination to attack the embassy guard, Zakariya told Al Jazeera that neither he nor his son knew they were selling a bedroom set to the Israeli embassy.

Zakariya said his son called him at around six in the evening, an hour before he was killed, telling him that everything was fine – he was about to finish the task as the doctor was helping him put the bedroom set together.

The Jordanian intelligence department detained the delivery truck driver, Maher Faris Ibrahimi, a key witness, for several days before he was released and ordered not speak to anyone about the case, according to his family members who spoke to Al Jazeera by phone from Amman.

Commenting on the launch of Israel’s preliminary investigation, Mohamad al-Momani, a Jordan government spokesperson, said: “We think this is a step in the right direction. We expect a complete follow-up on the legal procedure in accordance with international law relevant to these cases. Justice must be served.”

Follow Ali Younes on Twitter: @ali_reports

King Abdullah visited Zakariya al-Jawawdeh after the shooting in Amman [Courtesy of Jawawdweh family]
King Abdullah visited Zakariya al-Jawawdeh after the shooting in Amman [Courtesy of Jawawdweh family]
Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies