Israel releases two Jordanian prisoners to resolve diplomatic crisis

The deal will bring back the Jordanian ambassador, who was recalled when Israel refused to free the security detainees.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The two Jordanian citizens Israel has been holding due to their suspected security offenses have been brought to the Allenby crossing to be released Wednesday, the Shin Bet announced.

It is expected that this will solve the diplomatic crisis their arrest had sparked with Jordan, leading to Ambassador Ghassan al-Majali’s return after his recall to Amman last week for “consultations.”

There were widespread protests in the Hashemite kingdom over the detention of Heba al-Labadi and Abdul Rahman Miri, who were arrested on August 20 and September 2, respectively, when they tried entering Israel through the Allenby crossing. Labadi was suspected of meeting Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, while Israeli authorities believed that Miri was affiliated with Hamas.

The two, who denied they had any terrorist affiliation, have been held in court-ordered administrative detention since their arrest. This kind of detention does not necessarily lead to a trial, and suspected terrorists can be held this way for months and even years.

An aggressive social media campaign for their release especially focused on Labadi, who went on a hunger strike that led to her hospitalization last week. She only ended her strike after 41 days, when told that the two governments had come to an agreement to let her and Miri return home.

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Miri’s health was also a concern, as he has reportedly suffered from brain cancer since 2010, requiring medical intervention several times, including several operations.

Ultimately, the relationship between Jordan and Israel trumped any danger the two individuals may have posed the state.

As the Prime Minister’s office announced on Tuesday, “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.”

Jordan will return its ambassador, the statement continued, “after an agreement was reached between the countries for the transferring of the responsibility of the two arrested Jordanians in Israel to the Jordanian security forces.”