Imad al Adwan is accused of attempting to smuggle weapons into the West Bank.
By Erin Viner
“This is a very grave incident … an attempt to smuggle not just commercial goods but weaponry as well,” Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen told Israel’s Ynet TV.
“The basic demand is for him to be put on trial and pay the price,” he said. “Such an incident cannot be allowed to pass.”
The Jordanian member of the Parliament was taken into custody by the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) after a reported 200 handguns, assault rifles and gold were discovered in his luggage as he tried to cross the northern Sheikh Hussein/Allenby Jordan River border crossing from the Hashemite Kingdom.
The incident threatens to further strain on the neighbors’ almost three-decade-old relations, already inflamed over Amman’s condemnation of Jerusalem’s policies toward Palestinians. While Israel enjoys close security ties with Jordan, the Arab neighbor with which it shares its longest border, political relations have soured in recent years. Many of the kingdom’s citizens are of Palestinian origin.
There have been calls in Jordan’s parliament for al Adwan to be repatriated. Asked if Israel might make this conditional on a guarantee that he would face charges at home, Minister Cohen said only that the two governments were discussing the matter.
“I don’t necessarily think that this thing (Adwan’s case) is linked to Jordan as a whole, but rather, comes down to a foolhardy criminal act. I don’t want to ascribe blame to the entire government or entire parliament” of Jordan,” asserted Jerusalem’s top diplomat in attempts to avert a diplomatic crisis.
In an online recording, a senior member of the Fatah movement in Huwara said Adwan’s gold and arms were intended for delivery to Hamas terrorists in the West Bank for use in their campaign to wrest control of the territory from Fatah, the Palestinian Authority’s ruling party. The two Palestinian factions have been bitter rivals, the Islamist Hamas seized control of Gaza from Fatah in a brutal Palestinian internecine war in 2007.