Jordan, Israel at loggerheads over embassy shooting

Demonstration

"You represent the State of Israel and the State of Israel does not forget that even for a moment".

Emerging from a mosque hundreds of metres (yards) away from the embassy, the protesters chanted "Death to Israel" and "No Zionist embassy on Jordanian soil", an AFP correspondent said.

Jordan is not allowing the guard to leave the country, and Israel has confined its staff at the embassy to the embassy grounds.

It is very likely that the Israeli embassy in Jordan will remain as empty as Israel's embassy in Cairo, Egypt, following the latest Jordanian demands.

The decision to reach out to the U.S. to help defuse tensions with Jordan came as relations were already strained with Amman over tensions at the Temple Mount. The site is under Israeli security control but Jordan is the religious custodian under an agreement reached shortly after Israel captured the eastern sector of Jerusalem, where the shrine lies, from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war.


Jordanian police said after Sunday's shooting that they sealed off the embassy compound and deployed dozens of anti-terrorism gendarmie forces. It is also the holiest site of Judaism, revered as the place where biblical Temples once stood. They threatened to pursue "legal action at all levels, including internationally if necessary, and to be prepared for the stage that follows the prosecution's completion of the investigation, the trial and the verdict", according to a report in the Jordan Times. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received the guard warmly at his office and said he had acted "calmly".

Seven people have died after violence over the security measures.

President Abbas has suspended all contacts between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government on Friday in protest of the metal detectors. Abbas deserves an entire column of his own detailing his irresponsibility in almost every aspect of this drama, including his continuing dissembling over alleged threats to the Temple Mount status quo and his shockingly irresponsible and risky invitation to the Tanzim militia to lead mass protests this Friday.

Netanyahu's government faced growing domestic criticism in recent days, with some commentators saying it made hasty decisions affecting the most volatile spot of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The installation of the metal detectors has caused anger among Palestinians and in the Muslim world generally.

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