Israel to release 2 Jordanian terror suspects, move slammed by terror victims’ rights group

Israel and Jordan forged an agreement to release two Jordanians suspected of terror-related activity.

By World Israel News and AP

Israel and Jordan announced Monday that two Jordanians held for several months will be released. Heba al-Labadi and Abdel Rahman Miri were suspected of ties to terror groups and held for that reason, which caused a diplomatic rift between Jerusalem and Amman including the recall of the Jordanian ambassador.

The joint announcements marked a breakthrough in a case that worsened relations between the neighboring countries shortly after the 25th anniversary of their peace deal passed last month.

Israel’s Shin Bet security service said Labadi was detained “because of suspicion of her involvement in serious security violations.”

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi wrote on Twitter that Labadi and Miri will return to Jordan “before the end of the week.” He gave no further details.

Following the announcement, Almagor, an Israeli terror victims’ rights organization, blasted the impending release of the Jordanian suspects.

Almagor released the following statement: “The expected release without trial of two Palestinians from Jordan, suspected of contacting terrorists and assisting in planning terrorist attacks, may encourage other young people to go in their path, knowing that Jordanian citizenship will provide them with immunity [from pursuit by] Israeli security forces,” Arutz 7 reported.

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Israel arrested Labadi on Aug. 20 and Miri on Sept. 2 as they entered the Israeli territory of Samaria from Jordan.

They are being held in administrative detention, an Israeli policy that allows for open-ended detentions without filing charges against people suspected of security offenses.

Labadi, 32, was hospitalized last week due to her deteriorating condition after over a month on hunger strike in protest against her detention.

Miri, 29, has been battling cancer since 2010, and he requires frequent medical checkups.

‘Take all necessary steps’

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry said King Abdullah II had ordered the government “to take all necessary steps” to secure their release, and that an agreement had been reached “after lengthy discussions, intensive contacts and moves.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the deal had been reached between the head of Shin Bet and his Jordanian counterpart. As part of the deal, it said Jordan would return its ambassador to Israel, a week after Amman recalled its envoy to protest the detentions.

“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,” it said.

The two countries quietly marked the anniversary of their landmark peace deal. Signed on Oct. 26, 1994, it was only the second peace deal between Israel and an Arab country, following Egypt.

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Despite close security cooperation and support for the peace agreement among Jordan’s political establishment, anti-Israel rhetoric and sentiment remains pervasive in Jordan, as it does throughout the Arab world.

Jordan, for its part, enjoys custodial rights over Muslim sites in Jerusalem, including the Al-Aqsa compound, which was build on top of the Jewish Temple Mount.

The Islamic trust that administers the site prohibits any non-Muslim from praying there, a ban that is strictly enforced and results in the arrest and removal of Jews and Christians who engage in worship.

During the past month, American political commentator Ben Shapiro was forcibly removed from the Temple Mount when a member of the Jewish group with whom he visited began praying there.

Shapiro responded that Israel should erect a synagogue on the Temple Mount, which remains the holiest site in the Jewish faith.