May 8, 2023 | Flash Brief

Jordanian MP Who Smuggled Weapons into West Bank Repatriated by Israel

May 8, 2023 | Flash Brief

Jordanian MP Who Smuggled Weapons into West Bank Repatriated by Israel

Latest Developments

Israel handed over a Jordanian member of parliament to Jordanian authorities on May 7 to face trial for attempting to smuggle weapons into the West Bank. Israel had arrested Imad al-Adwan on April 22 at a border crossing with 12 rifles and 194 pistols in his car. The Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, said Adwan had smuggled various types of contraband into the West Bank 12 times since February 2022. A Shin Bet investigation also found that Adwan’s motives were financial rather than related to Palestinian nationalism.

Expert Analysis

“Jordan is an important American ally, but it has gotten a free pass from American administrations and a blank check of $1.5 billion annually from the American taxpayers. Yet it incites Palestinians to violence every Ramadan and refuses to turn over a terrorist who murdered Americans and Israelis. It’s time for a tough conversation with our Jordanian friends and congressional scrutiny if they refuse to change their posture.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Israel has handled this episode as well as could be expected. Rather than stoking a crisis, Jerusalem has elected to work this out quietly and behind the scenes with Amman. This is the way that peace is maintained. And it is a stark contrast to the vitriol often expressed by the Jordanian government in response to Israeli actions with which it disagrees.” — Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

Jordan Still Refuses to Extradite Wanted Terrorist

Israel’s repatriation of Adwan contrasts sharply with Amman’s ongoing refusal to extradite wanted terrorist Ahlam al-Tamimi, who played a role in the 2001 Sbarro pizzeria bombing in Jerusalem that killed 15 people, including two American citizens. Tamimi moved to Jordan after her release in a prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel in 2011. The United States “is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information that leads to” her “arrest or conviction,” according to the FBI.

Jordanian Incitement Persists

Although Jordan was one of the first Arab countries to establish relations with Israel nearly 30 years ago, Amman has recently become more hostile. Its official rhetoric about Israel has grown increasingly negative, if not vitriolic, in both public forums and Jordan’s government-sponsored media. In April, King Abdullah told a visiting Palestinian Authority delegation, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, that it is “the duty of every Muslim to deter Israeli escalations against … holy sites in Jerusalem.” Palestinian rioters subsequently attacked Israeli forces at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Jordan effectively sided with Hamas during the May 2021 conflict with Israel by echoing the terrorist group’s talking points that wrongly blamed Israeli security forces on the Temple Mount for sparking the conflict. In his 2022 speech to the United Nations General Assembly, King Abdullah falsely accused Israelis of threatening Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. And in April 2023, the Jordanian and Iranian foreign ministers agreed to meet “as soon as possible.”

Related Analysis

Israel Arrests Jordanian Lawmaker on Suspicion of Gunrunning,” FDD Flash Brief

Jordan’s Threat to the Middle Eastern Order,” by Jonathan Schanzer and Mark Dubowitz

Neither Here Nor There: Jordan and the Abraham Accords,” by Jonathan Schanzer


Arab Politics Israel Jordan Palestinian Politics