Peres rues Israeli army’s killing of Jordanian judge

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli President Shimon Peres in a conversation with King Abdullah II of Jordan expressed Israel’s regret over the shooting of a Jordanian judge.

Peres, speaking by phone to Abdullah on Monday, offered his “deepest condolences” to the Jordanian people in the death of Raed Zeiter at the Jordan-Israel border crossing.

“As the President of the State of Israel, I would like to express compassion to the bereaved family; I share in their grief,” Peres said, according to a statement issued by his office. He added that “Israel attaches great importance to our relations with Jordan and the peace agreement between our two countries.”

The statement said Peres and Abdullah discussed the current peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and that their countries would establish a joint Israeli-Jordanian team to investigate the shooting death.

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office issued an apology to Jordan and said it would open a joint investigation.

The Israeli military said Zeiter attacked one of its soldiers and attempted to seize his weapon during a check at the border crossing before he was shot and killed by Israeli troops.

Also on Monday, Jordan condemned what it called “Israeli escalation” at the Al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the third holiest site for Muslims. The condemnation followed a day after seven Palestinians were arrested on the Temple Mount for rioting against a pre-planned visit by Israel’s construction and housing minister, Uri Ariel, who called for Jewish sovereignty over the site.

The Temple Mount is overseen by the Jordanian Muslim Wakf, the religious administration charged with managing the Temple Mount site, which is holy to Jews and Muslims. Jews generally are not permitted by the Wakf to pray or bring any ritual objects to the Temple Mount.

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