Jordanian MP Emad al-Adwan's arrest by Israel 'politically motivated,' say MPs

Jordanian MP Emad al-Adwan's arrest by Israel 'politically motivated,' say MPs
MPs and the public in Jordan view the arrest of Emad al-Adwan as a way for Israel to pressure the Jordanian government.
3 min read
24 April, 2023
The MP was accused attempting to smuggle hundreds of firearms and over 100 kilograms of gold over the Israeli-controlled border crossing. [Getty]

Jordanian MPs said that the arrest of their fellow parliamentarian Emad al-Adwan by Israeli authorities Sunday was "politically motivated" as public outrage mounts over his detainment.

Al-Adwan was accused of trying to smuggle a large quantity of weapons and gold across the Allenby Bridge border crossing into the occupied West Bank and was detained by Israeli Shin Bet border police.

Israeli authorities claim that the Jordanian MP attempted to smuggle hundreds of firearms and over 100 kilograms of gold over the border.

"His arrest is unjustified, unacceptable and I consider it a political arrest of the first degree," Salah Armouti, a Jordanian MP from the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islah party, told The New Arab.

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The arrest occurs as tension between Jordan and Israel are heightening over the latter's frequent killing of Palestinians since the start of 2023 and violent raids on al-Aqsa Mosque, which is under Jordanian authority.

The two countries signed a peace treaty in 1994, but relations have been frosty between King Abdullah and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, particularly under the latter's current fanatical right-wing government.

Armouti said that the Jordanian parliament is calling on the Israeli government to immediately release al-Adwan, pointing to the immunity that he said came with the MP's diplomatic passport.

The Jordanian public reacted with anger at news of al-Adwan's arrest and has vaunted him as a hero for his support of the Palestinian cause.

"True or not, we are all proud of people like you, it’s a reminder that the Palestinian issue that cannot be separated from each Jordanian," Jehad al-Adwan, a Jordanian user, wrote on Twitter.

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"We consider him a national hero and we stand with him. We support that all the efforts are taken to release him safely to his family," Jordanian MP Khalil Attieh told TNA.

Several Jordanians also pointed out what they saw as Israeli hypocrisy, comparing the arrest of al-Adwan to the 2017 incident where an Israeli embassy guard shot and killed two Jordanians after being stabbed by a screwdriver.

The Israelis claimed the guard had diplomatic immunity.

He was sent back to Israel without facing trial and was warmly received by PM Netanyahu, prompting fury in Jordan.

"When the Israeli guard killed Jordanians in Amman, they sent him back to his country on the very same day. The [Jordanian] government should not spare any efforts," Attieh said. 

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The Adwan tribe, one of the most powerful families in Jordan, released a statement on Sunday that called on the Jordanian government to "exert all possible efforts" to secure al-Adwan's release.

The Jordanian government has said it is "following up" on the case of al-Adwan and the Jordanian ambassador to Israel will meet with the detained MP on Monday to further understand what happened.

"The details are still unclear of exactly what happened. All the details are limited to the back-channels, between the two countries to see what can be done. But there are a lot of question marks," Oraib Rantawi, the founder of the Amman-based al-Quds Center for Political Studies, said to TNA.

Rantawi added that the arrest of the Jordanian MP will most likely be used by the Israelis as a means of applying pressure on the Jordanian government to extract some form of concessions.

The spokesperson for the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs declined to comment on the arrest or on the matter of al-Adwani's diplomatic passport when asked by TNA.

Ibrahim Husseini, TNA's correspondent from Jerusalem, contributed to this report