Netanyahu Confirms Israel Will Release Two Jordanian Nationals Held in Detention

Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel last week in protest over the arrest of the two, who have been held without trial for the past two months

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Palestinians hang photos of Heba al-Labadi, a Jordanian citizen of Palestinian descent, in East Jerusalem, Oct. 26, 2019
Palestinians hang photos of Heba al-Labadi, a Jordanian citizen of Palestinian descent, in East Jerusalem, Oct. 26, 2019Credit: Mahmoud Illean,AP

Israel confirmed on Monday afternoon that it will release two Jordanian nationals who are currently held in detention.

The Israeli confirmation came after Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said earlier on Monday that the two will be released to their home country by the weekend.

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 47Credit: Haaretz

Jordan's ambassador to Israel, who was summoned for consultations last week to protest Jerusalem's detention of the two detainees, will return to Jerusalem in the coming days.

>> Read more: Jordanians now see Israel as an implacable enemy, despite 25 years of peace | Opinion ■ 25 years since Israel-Jordan peace, security cooperation flourishes but people kept apart

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's bureau stated following the decision to release the Jordanian nationals that "Israel views the relationship between Jordan and Israel as a cornerstone of regional stability and will continue to act to ensure the region's security."

National Security Council chief Meir Ben Shabbat and Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman were behind the political and security negotiations to form the deal.

Heba al-Labadi and Abdul Rahman Mari have both been held in detention without charges for two months.

The Jordanian foreign minister noted that the decision to release Labadi and Mari comes after long, intense negotiations between the two countries, and that Jordan's King Abdullah II did everything he could to promote their release.

Labadi, who has launched a hunger strike in protest of the administrative detention order against her, said Monday she is ending the strike.

She announced her decision after the Jordanian deputy ambassador in Israel met with her in the Ramle Prison.

Last week, Jordan's Foreign Ministry said the authorities had arrested an Israeli citizen who had crossed the border illegally.

Israeli diplomatic sources said last week that they doubted Jordan is conditioning the release of the Israeli citizen it is holding on the release of the two Jordanians.

Israel detained Labadi on August 20 and Mari on September 2 as each entered the West Bank from Jordan. Both have been held in administrative detention, an Israeli policy that allows people suspected of security offenses to be held indefinitely without being charged.

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