A diplomatic storm was brewing this week after conflicting accounts of the fatal shooting of a Jordanian judge by Israeli soldiers at a border crossing on Monday.
Israeli soldiers’ statements were queried by several Palestinian witnesses as a preliminary investigation revealed that cameras supposed to be filming the area were turned off at the time, against site rules.
IDF forces said, Raed Zueter, 38, who hailed from an established Nablus family, was shot after running at them shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great) and trying to steal their weapons.
“The terrorist ran toward soldiers yelling ‘Allahu akbar’ attempting to seize their weapons,” the IDF said. It later tweeted: “A Palestinian tried to seize a soldier’s weapon at the Allenby Bridge Crossing from Jordan. In response, IDF forces fired at the suspect.”
However Palestinian witnesses recalled that Israeli soldiers had pushed Zueter, who had pushed back, before a fight broke out.
“My son was peaceful and professional,” said the dead man’s father Alaa Zueter, 70, himself a former judge. “I am in shock.”
The Jordanian government sent a strong letter of protest to Israel following the weekend killing, as the heads of nine parliamentary blocs held an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis.
Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh also summoned the Israeli ambassador in the capital Amman, where Zueter lived and worked.
Meanwhile the Palestinian Authority “vigorously condemned” the close range killing, calling for an independent investigation. In a statement, it said: “This killing is one of a series violation of human rights in Palestine.”