Israel is trying to prevent an escalation in its relations with Jordan

Israel released from detention the Jordanian MP Imad Al-Adwan who tried to smuggle a large amount of weapons to Israel, he was extradited to Jordan, his immunity was removed and he will be prosecuted. The political echelon in Israel prevented an unnecessary escalation in the strained relations with Jordan and took a confidence-building step towards it, Jordan, for its part, undertook to punish Al-Adwan and fight the phenomenon of arms smuggling.



The political and security echelon made the right decision and ordered the release from detention of the Jordanian MP Imad Al-Adwan who was arrested at the Allenby Bridge on April 22th after trying to smuggle 200 weapons into Israel in his car. He was released from detention and transferred to Jordan.

An official announcement by the Shin Bet stated that during his investigation it was revealed that he was involved in 12 other cases of smuggling weapons, gold and various goods into Israel and that he received large sums of money for the smuggling.

Following the cooperation between the Shin Bet and Jordanian intelligence, the authorities in Jordan arrested several people who were involved in smuggling on the Jordanian side.

Israel made the right decision not to further escalate relations with Jordan, which have been very tense since the events at Al-Aqsa Mosque during the month of Ramadan, the Jordanian parliament member became the hero of the Jordanian street and Islamic elements justified his actions by claiming he was supposedly trying to help the armed terrorist groups in the West Bank by transferring weapons to them to fight against the “Israeli occupation”.

The tribe to which the member of parliament Imad Al-Adwan belongs is a large tribe that controls most of the land in the Jordan Valley and it exerted great pressure on King Abdullah to bring about the release of the member of the tribe who was arrested in Israel.

Security officials in Israel feared that the continued detention of Imad Al-Adwan in Israel would complicate relations with Jordan and that extremist elements in Jordan would try to kidnap Israeli citizens and soldiers on Jordanian territory or on its border and hold them hostage until he is released.

A senior political official in Jerusalem justifies the Israeli decision by saying that Israel returned the favor to Jordan after Jordan did a favor to Israel in July 2017 and released an Israeli security guard at the Israeli embassy in Amman who killed two Jordanian citizens. According to him, Jordan promised Israel that Imad Al-Adwan’s immunity would be lifted and he would be prosecuted.

Imad Al-Adwan severely damaged the image of the Hashemite kingdom internationally and the status of the Jordanian parliament, in Jordan they are now doing a soul-searching about the need to establish criteria for the question of who deserves to be elected to the parliament.

 The internal situation in Jordan is very sensitive and Israel does not want to be seen as taking steps aimed at making it difficult for King Abdullah, the prosecution in Israel of a member of the Jordanian parliament would cause strategic damage to Israel’s relations with Jordan and that will be a constant source of tension in relations between the two countries.

The political echelon decided to take a confidence-building step towards Jordan based on the working assumption that Israel may also need security gestures from Jordan towards Israel in the future, a senior security official says that maintaining normal relations between the Israeli security system and the Jordanian security system is in the interest of both countries and the Biden administration is also satisfied with the decision of the political echelon in Israel regarding the release of Imad Al-Adwan.

The Jordanian Parliament has already removed the immunity of Imad Al-Adwan and he will be prosecuted in the Special Court for State Security on charges of arms smuggling and harming Jordan’s security and its foreign relations.

Jordanian commentators describe the release of Imad Al-Adwan as a success of Jordanian diplomacy and King Abdullah’s policy.

 Israel’s security deal with Jordan approved by Prime Minister Netanyahu and King Abdullah is a good example of the understandings that the two countries can reach on various issues in order to preserve the peace agreement between them and avoid unnecessary conflicts that could complicate relations between the two countries.

Senior officials in Jordan estimate that Imad Al-Adwan will indeed be prosecuted and sentenced to prison, Jordan has promised to update Israel on the results of the investigation and the legal process, but according to those sources it is very doubtful whether Imad Al-Adwan will spend much time in a Jordanian prison.

The tribe to which he belongs has great influence, most of his people are armed and King Abdullah needs its support very much, so it is likely that he will receive a pardon from the king at some point.

The case of the arrest of Imad Al-Adwan is a success from a security point of view for the Israeli Shin Bet, which succeeded in thwarting the smuggling of a large amount of weapons into Israel and blocking a permanent weapon smuggling route to Israel.

Jordanian officials say that following the affair, the Jordanian army will increase its activity along the border with Israel and at the border crossings in order to combat the phenomenon of arms smuggling. Behind this phenomenon stand Iran and the Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations.


Yoni Ben Menachem Senior Middle East Analyst

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a Middle East senior analyst ,a journalist and
the former CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority(IBA). He has
decades of experience in written and video journalism. Ben
Menachem’s path in the media world began as a producer for
Japanese television in the Middle East. After that, he held many key
positions in the media The Israeli: CEO of the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, director of “Kol Israel” Radio, reporter on West Bank and
Gaza Strip affairs, political reporter and commentator, commentator
on Middle East affairs and editor-in-chief and presenter of the
program “Middle East Magazine”. 

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