Israel Arrests Jordanian Lawmaker Suspected of Smuggling Weapons to the West Bank

On Saturday night, Israeli authorities arrested Jordanian lawmaker Imad al-Adwan on suspicion of smuggling a large cache of weapons and gold into the West Bank.

Israeli authorities received intelligence about arms smuggling from Jordan, prompting al-Adwan to be searched and detained, according to a statement made by Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry said it coordinated “with all concerned authorities” on al-Adwan’s arrest.

Meanwhile, Palestinian militant organizations are waging an armed uprising in the West Bank, and Israeli authorities are trying to neutralize a wave of terrorism that began in March 2022.

On Monday afternoon local time, an Arab-Israeli resident of Beit Safafa, identified as Khatem Najma, wounded at least five Israelis in a car-ramming attack near the busy central market in Jerusalem. Najma was shot and killed by an armed civilian shortly after the incident.

Weapons Smuggling

While important details have yet to be revealed, al-Adwan’s arrest is significant. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have long suspected that arms smuggling is fueling the conflict in the West Bank. In December 2022, a senior Israeli military official confirmed to FDD’s Long War Journal that Hezbollah was smuggling arms to the West Bank. Moreover, Iranian military officials have been vocal about arming West Bank Palestinian militant groups, thus creating an Iranian-backed front on Israel’s doorstep.

It’s unclear if al-Adwan acted alone or if he was playing the role of an intermediary for a foreign actor. Despite the unknowns and grave nature of the incident, it’s likely the two countries will find a way to resolve the incident and al-Adwan will be repatriated. For example, in 2017, a guard at the Israeli embassy in Amman shot and killed two Jordanian workers in self-defense. The incident caused minor tension between the two countries, but the guard was eventually allowed to return to Israel.

Israel may choose to use the incident to extract concessions from Jordan. Specifically, the extradition of 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. Al-Tamimi moved to Jordan after her release in a prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel in 2011.

Joe Truzman is an editor and senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

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