The showdown was averted but the hyperbole from both sides reflects heightened diplomatic tensions between Israel and Jordan
This Wednesday June 17, 2015 file photo shows Oren Hazan, a Likud party parliament member, being escorted out of the parliament hall by ushers. The Israeli lawmaker has been forced to call off a ‘non-violent’ faceoff with a Jordanian challenger after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office ordered him to stand down. (AP Photo/Emil Salman, File) ***ISRAEL OUT***, photo: AP/Emil Salman, File
02 of August 2017 14:40:20
JERUSALEM – It had all the ingredients of a political brawl: a Jordanian and an Israeli lawmaker, both known for attention-seeking bluster, challenged each other to a showdown Wednesday on the border between their two countries.Everyone expected a fist fight — or at least a shouting match.Israel's Oren Hazan and Jordan's Yehiya al-Saoud were each already on their way to the border crossing on Allenby Bridge on the River Jordan when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Israeli lawmaker to stand down.The showdown was averted but the hyperbole from both sides reflects heightened diplomatic tensions between Israel and Jordan over the escalation around a contested Jerusalem shrine and over last month's deadly shooting at the Israeli Embassy in Amman.
Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994, but ties are often strained over Israeli-Palestinian flare-ups. There has also been widespread anger in Jordan over last month's deadly shooting in which an Israeli Embassy guard killed two Jordanians, including a 16-year-old. Authorities said the guard opened fire after the teen attacked him with a screwdriver during a furniture delivery.Hazan and al-Saoud, both provocative politicians, had quarreled publicly in recent days, exchanging barbs through media statements.Al-Saoud challenged Hazan to a faceoff at the Allenby Bridge crossing after the Israeli berated Jordan, claiming Israel always "protects their posterior, day and night. They need a little re-education."Hazan picked up the gauntlet but struck a more jocular tone ahead of the rendezvous, posting photos of him getting a haircut and tweeting: "A gentleman is never late!"He said he would meet al-Saoud and "make him an offer he can't refuse." His spokesman Daniel Zirlin said the meeting would be "non-violent" and would carry "a message of reconciliation and peace."
Meanwhile in other news, an Israeli politician canceled a faceoff with a Jordanian MP at Jordan's border following a Twitter argument. pic.twitter.com/Lwk8KFFaCR— AJ+ (@ajplus) 2 de agosto de 2017
ILAN BEN ZION