Jordan welcomes MP Emad al-Adwan's release, as Israel's Ben-Gvir 'fumes'

Jordan welcomes MP Emad al-Adwan's release, as Israel's Ben-Gvir 'fumes'
3 min read
07 May, 2023
Emad al-Adwan's release from detention in Israel on Sunday was celebrated by Jordanians, though the MP faces possible prosecution for smuggling weapons into the West Bank.
Emad al-Adwan was arrested last month after being accused of smuggling weaponry into the West Bank [Twitter - Ali Walid Kanaan]

Jordanians welcomed Israel’s handing over of MP Emad al-Adwan to Amman on Sunday, who was held on charges of smuggling weapons and other goods into the occupied West Bank.

Al-Adwan, a member of Jordan’s parliament, was apprehended on 22 April at the Allenby border crossing, after being accused of smuggling a range of arms and bars of gold into the neighbouring Palestinian territory, according to the Israeli Shin Bet security agency.

The lawmaker, who is a member of Jordan’s powerful Adwan tribe, also had his parliamentary immunity lifted at the request of the State Security Court prosecutor, according to Jordanian Speaker Ahmad al-Safadi. This means that Al-Adwan will face trial, and could be prosecuted.

Al-Adwan’s arrest initially prompted public outrage in Jordan, with fellow politicians branding his apprehension by Israel as "unjustified" and "politically motivated".

Unsurprisingly, Jordanians welcomed his release, expressing "thanks and relief" that he was no longer held by Israel.

A political cartoon showing Al-Adwan in a traditional keffiyeh, accompanied by a map of a full, independent Palestine circulated online with the caption "One people, not two [separate] people", in reference to the Jordanian MP's support of the Palestinian cause. One Twitter user, Hammam Zaytouneh, lauded Al-Adwan as "heroic".

In reply to a tweet by the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announcing Al-Adwan’s release, many Twitter users praised the move and expressed gratitude that the lawmaker was "returned safely".

The response across the border in Israel, however, was less than lukewarm.

Controversial National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is known for making inflammatory and racist remarks about Palestinians, said that Tel Aviv’s release of Al-Adwan was "unacceptable", and boycotted Sunday’s cabinet meeting in protest, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The extreme-far-right lawmaker said: "The decision to release the terrorist who tried to bring here hundreds of weapons that will be used for terrorist attacks and acts of crime in the heart of the State of Israel is a strategic and moral mistake," Israeli media cited.

A number of Israeli Twitter users echoed similar sentiments. One user, Shalev, said: "What a joke country we are".

Live Story

Jordan and Israel, who signed a peace treaty in 1994, have enjoyed diplomatic links for over three decades. Relations, however, have become strained as of late due to Israel’s increased killings of Palestinians and violent raids on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which Amman oversees.

The installation of Israel’s extreme far-right government, which came to power in December last year, has also contributed to the souring relations between Amman and Tel Aviv.