Israel Releases Two Jordanian Nationals Held in Detention

Jack Khoury
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Jordanian citizen Heba Labadi at the King Hussein Bridge crossing near Amman, Jordan, November 6, 2019.
Jordanian citizen Heba Labadi at the King Hussein Bridge crossing near Amman, Jordan, November 6, 2019.Credit: Raad Adayleh,AP
Jack Khoury

Israel released on Wednesday two Jordanian nationals who had been held in detention without charges for the past two months. 

Israel had confirmed the release of Heba al-Labadi and Abdul Rahman Mari after Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Monday that the two would be released to their home country by the weekend. 

Heba al-Labadi reunites with her family after being released from Israeli detention, Jordan, October 6, 2019.Credit: Jordanian state-media

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 47

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

Labadi's father said on Wednesday that his daughter had met with her family on the Jordanian side of the border, adding that she will be transferred to King Hussein Medical Center in Amman to undergo medical examinations. 

"We are very excited and happy that Heba is back home and free. We were very worried for her wellbeing, and there was a genuine concern to her life due to the harsh conditions she was under during her detention and her 42-day hunger strike," Labadi's family said in a statement.

"We thank everyone who supported Heba in her struggle and her release, while stressing the efforts invested by the Jordanian government to free her. We are aware that there were those who supported Heba's release within Israel," said Labadi's mother in an interview to Nazareth's Radio al-Shams. 

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

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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.

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.

The release of the two gained wide state-media coverage in Jordan, including a live broadcast of Labadi's release and crossing to the Jordanian side of the border. 

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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