Jordan sends two to jail over plan to attack Israeli forces

Jordanian court sentences two men to 10 years in prison for planning attack against Israeli forces on Jordan-Israel border.

Ben Ariel ,

Israeli-Jordanian border in Aqaba
Israeli-Jordanian border in Aqaba

A Jordanian court on Wednesday sentenced two men to 10 years in prison with hard labor for planning an attack against Israeli forces on the kingdom's border with Israel, AFP reports.

The state security court in Amman ruled that the men, Jordanians both in their twenties, had planned to target Israeli soldiers with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and a pistol.

They had hatched the plan last year after US President Donald Trump announced his controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, sparking outrage amongst Palestinian Arabs, a court document said.

One of those convicted planned "to carry out an armed terrorist operation... after (Trump's) decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem and over the abuses against Palestinians by the Israeli army," it said, according to AFP.

The two men from the city of Madaba, located 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Amman, admitted they had also planned to open fire on Jordanian forces if they were intercepted, the charge sheet said.

They were intercepted by Jordanian border guards in May of last year, before they could cross the border and reach Israeli forces.

Jordan is one of two Arab countries, along with Egypt, to have a peace treaty with Israel.

Despite the treaty, the country’s parliament, which is made up mostly of Islamists, remains anti-Israel and its members have more than once called to annul the peace treaty.

In 2017, the Jordanian parliament approved a proposal to establish a committee to reevaluate all formal ties with Israel, including the peace agreement. That proposal does not necessarily mean that the peace accords with Israel will be annulled, as such a decision requires the approval of the government, the royal palace and the council advising the king.

In addition, the treaty is opposed by many Jordanians who often protest in calls for the deal to be annulled.

Jordan has also been targeted by several terrorist attacks in recent years, particularly since it became a leading member of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria.

At least one hundred detainees have been sentenced to death in Jordan in recent years, many on charges related to membership in Islamist groups, who could face capital punishment.

Last November, a Jordanian court sentenced 10 people to prison terms of between three years and life in connection with a deadly 2016 attack claimed by ISIS.