Israel studying case of Jordanian MP arrested on suspicion of smuggling weapons and gold

Imad Adwan was detained at the Allenby Crossing connecting Jordan and West Bank

Jordanian MP Imad Adwan has been detained by Israeli authorities, Jordan's Foreign Ministry said on Sunday
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Israel is treating a suspected weapons and gold smuggling attempt by a Jordanian parliamentarian as a “serious incident”, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said on Monday, as he sought to contain possible damage to ties between the two countries.

Mr Cohen said the reported smuggling of a dozen rifles and 200 handguns guns as well as gold by Imad Adwan is “a very serious incident, which will be examined”.

“We are studying it in depth,” The Times of Israel quoted him as saying.

The case strikes at the core of the complex relationship between Jordan and Israel. The two countries signed a peace treaty in 1994 and co-ordinate closely on security matters, despite sharp political differences over the issue of Palestinian statehood and rights.

It also touches on tribal politics in Jordan: Mr Adwan is a member of one of the tribes that form the backbone of the country's security forces and the core of support for the Jordanian political system.

Mr Cohen said that he does not think that “the episode is connected to Jordan in general, but to an irresponsible criminal act”.

“I don’t want to assign guilt to the entire government or the entire parliament,” Mr Cohen said.

Jordanian officials and media said Israel had arrested Mr Adwan on Sunday on suspicion of smuggling weapons and 100kg of gold as he crossed by car into the occupied West Bank.

He is being held by Israel as Jordanian authorities work to find out the details of the issue, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Sinan Majali said.

Mr Adwan sits on the Jordanian parliament's Palestine Committee, which monitors Israeli actions in the occupied Palestinian territories but has no say on foreign policy.

His brother, Amer Adwan, said the Adwan tribe was confident that the Jordanian authorities were doing their utmost to free him.

Ammon, a Jordanian news site with ties to the government, said Mr Adwan was arrested on Allenby Bridge, which connects Jordan with the occupied West Bank.

Citing parliamentary sources, it said the weapons and gold were found in his car. It also published a photo purportedly showing an Israeli security officer examining a dozen seized handguns.

Jordanian and Israeli citizens can travel between the two counties after obtaining a visa.

Updated: April 24, 2023, 3:41 PM