July 21, 2011 By

Israeli Troops Kill Jordanian Judge at West Bank Crossing

lIsraeli soldiers shot and killed a Jordanian judge of Palestinian origin, after he seized a gun from a border guard and threatened two soldiers with a metal bar. The thirty eight year old Raed Zeiter was shot on Monday by the Israeli troops near the Allenby Bridge terminal. He lived with his family in Amman, where he was a judge in the Court of First Instance, the news service said. Zeiter had moved to Jordan from the West Bank city of Nablus in 2011, the Jordanian Ministry of Justice said.

The incident has accelerated tensions not only between Israel and the Palestinians but also between Israel and Jordan, a key player in the Middle East peace process. The Allenby Bridge which links Jordan and the West Bank, is the main point of exit for Palestinians who live in the West Bank, and is jointly controlled by Israel and Jordan. It was closed for several hours after the shooting.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah condemned the judge’s killing and called for an international investigation. Jordan’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Nasser Judeh, summoned Israel’s No. 2 diplomat to Amman, Jordan’s capital, to condemn the shooting and urged the Israeli government to immediately open an investigation, Jordan’s state-run Petra news agency reports said.

Jordan’s Minister for Media Affairs, Mohammad Momani, said that Israel had promised to submit a report on the incident on Tuesday, and the Jordanian government would announce the measures to be taken after that.

People must board a bus to reach the crossing. Col. Yaron Beit-On, who supervises the Israeli forces in the Jordan Valley, told reporters that Zeiter came into the West Bank from Jordan on a bus carrying thirty people around 9:30 a.m. After the routine check of the bus by the soldiers, Zeiter approached the soldiers yelling ”Allahu Akbar,” (God is Great), and tried to grab the weapon from an Israeli soldier. He succeeded in getting a four-foot metal bar with a mirror at one end which the soldiers use to check the underside of vehicles at the crossing. The soldiers opened fire at his legs to stop him, at which point he tried to strangle a soldier and was shot to death, Col. Yaron Beit-On said.

In a separate incident, later on Monday, a Palestinian man was killed by Israeli Army fire in the West Bank. A military spokeswoman said that Palestinians were hurling rocks at Israeli civilian vehicles on the road to the Jewish settlement of Beit El, and that Israeli soldiers opened fire.

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