A Jordanian MP and lawyer, Imad Zaidan Al-Adwan, was arrested while crossing the Allenby Bridge. Israeli authorities claim he was attempting to smuggle weapons and gold into the West Bank from Jordan.
Al Adwan is an attorney with a Masters degree in international law. He is affiliated with the Palestine Committee in the Jordanian parliament.
This story was under gag order and Israeli reporters could only offer limited accounts of the story approved by Israeli authorities. This is one of the reasons it is critical to defy such bans characteristic of autocracies and dictatorships, not democracies.
One report says the Israelis claim they discovered 12 rifles, 27 ZIG pistols, 167 Glock pistols, and 100 kilograms of gold. However, Israel’s Channel 12 denied there was any gold in the MP’s vehicle.
The arrest is certain to enflame tensions with Jordan, whose pro-Palestinian factions have demanded cutting diplomatic relations in the aftermath of Israeli mass violence and desecration of Haram al Sharif. The level of insult and condescension among Israeli officials toward their Arab neighbors is astonishing:
Jordan has repeatedly lambasted Jerusalem, in more than 10 statements over an incident during Ramadan in which cops entered Al-Aqsa to confront Palestinian rioters and were filmed beating some of them. At one point, Jordan refused to receive messages from Israel through the US or the United Arab Emirates, saying it would only accept direct messages and only if Israel commits to not enter the mosque again.
The Israeli officials cited in the report said they had held positive meetings with Safadi ahead of Ramadan, when Israel-Palestinian tensions regularly flare over the Temple Mount, but that he adopted a hardline position as matters came to a head.
As if there was no reason for him to do so except pure anti-Israel spite! Of course, the Israelis promised there would be calm at the Muslim holy site. Then they defiled it with mass beatings and arrests. Yet they somehow are shocked and disappointed that their erstwhile friendly encounter turned into a nasty “hardline” response.
Also, Israeli ex-terrorist minister, Bezalel Smotrich delivered a Likud speech in France before a lectern featuring the logo of the Yishuv Jewish terror militia, Etzel. It featured a map of its envisioned state incorporating the territory of Jordan. It reflects Jabotinsky’s territorial vision: “there are two banks of the Jordan; both are ours.” The state protested sharply this insult to its sovereignty.
Haaretz reports the Jordanian foreign ministry says it is handling the incident “through diplomatic channels.” If true, it would be a tepid response considering that a Jordanian citizen and MP has been illegally detained by a foreign government. Israeli state broadcaster Kan reports differently:
Jordan’s foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, was refusing to answer calls from his Israeli counterpart, Eli Cohen, after news of the incident broke.
Foreign diplomats are entitled to immunity and their personal belongings would not be searched in a country obeying international law. However, Israel customarily ignores such protocols when it is convenient. It also arrested him, which is another violation of diplomatic protocols.
An Israeli security source claimed that this was a “troubling, comparatively serious attempt to smuggle weapons” to Palestinian militants. None of the news reports indicated for whom the Israelis claim the weapons were intended.
Israeli media published a short video claiming to display the smuggled weapons.
♦️مقطـع فيديـو تداولتـه صفحات إسرائيلية غير موثوقـة لما قالت عنه محاولـة تهريب أسلحـة عبر جسر ”اللنبي/ الكرامـة“ من قبـل نائب في مجلس الشعب الأردني إلى الضفـة الغربيـة .. خلال النقاش على إحـدى الصفحات ظهـر تعليـق للمراسل العسكري لقنـاة ريشت كان العبريـة يطالب القائمين على الصفحـة… pic.twitter.com/jBJ52g0vK7
— جريدة القدس (@alqudsnewspaper) April 23, 2023
Given my experience in reporting such matters, I suspect that either the Israeli claim is fabricated or that the circumstances are other than what the authorities claim. MPs who are lawyers with Masters degrees in international law do not generally become arms smugglers.
I sought responses to the arrest via the Twitter accounts of King Abdullah and the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.