Israel 'Regrets' Allenby Bridge Incident
President Shimon Peres issued an apology to King Abdullah II of Jordan on Monday, over the incident last week in which an IDF solder killed a Jordanian man near the Allenby bridge crossing.
"On behalf of the State of Israel, I wish to express my deepest condolences to the people of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for the death of Judge Raed Zeiter at the King Hussein Bridge on March 10th," Peres stated.
"As the President of the State of Israel I would like to express compassion to the bereaved family, I share in their grief."
"Earlier today, I conducted an important conversation with His Majesty King Abdullah II and expressed our deep regret to him," he continued. "We discussed the importance of achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians based on two states for two peoples. We further discussed the urgent need to bring an end to the bloodshed in the Middle East and advance a future of stability and prosperity for all the people of our region."
"Peace and cooperation with all our neighbors remains Israel's highest hope," Peres declared. "Israel attaches great importance to our relations with Jordan and the peace agreement between our two countries. King Abdullah II is a leader of vision, and under his leadership Jordan plays a key role in the search for peace and stability in the Middle East."
"Israel agreed to the Jordanian request to establish a joint Israeli-Jordanian team to complete the investigation and their work has begun," he concluded.
Jordan Acknowledges Israel's Condolences
IDF soldiers shot and killed Raed Zeiter, a Palestinian-Jordanian judge, at the Allenby border crossing last Monday. The IDF later explained that the shooting was in self-defense, and that Zeiter had attempted to seize one of the soldiers' guns.
The shooting sparked the fury of both Jordan and the Palestinian Authority (PA), with protesters in Amman demanding the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and the abrogation of the two countries' 1994 peace treaty.
Until now, Israel has expressed regret for the shooting but stopped short of apologizing to Jordan.
Amman officially acknowledged Israel's belated statement Monday, noting that both Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called Abdullah II over the incident, according to AFP.
Abdullah "received a telephone call from Peres who, as president of the state of Israel, apologized for the martyrdom of Jordanian judge Raed Zeiter," a statement from the Jordan palace acknowledge Monday evening.
"Peres expressed his regrets for the incident and said he was deeply affected. He said Israel is committed to work together with Jordan on the probe into the incident," it continued.
The statement added the king "also received a similar phone call from Netanyahu," without giving further details.