2 Jordanians held in Israel to be sent home, Amman set to return envoy after row

Heba al-Labadi and Abdel Rahman Miri, held without charge for months, being released as part of deal with Amman meant to end diplomatic spat, PMO says

Adam Rasgon is a former Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Israeli human rights activists protest calling for the release of Jordanian national Heba al-Labadi at the entrance to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem, October 28, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 )
Israeli human rights activists protest calling for the release of Jordanian national Heba al-Labadi at the entrance to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem, October 28, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 )

Two Jordanian nationals who were recently detained by Israel will return to the Hashemite Kingdom in the coming days, authorities in both countries said Monday.

Ayman Safadi, Jordan’s foreign minister, made the announcement on Twitter Monday afternoon. It was later confirmed by Israeli authorities, who pointed to the importance of Jerusalem’s ties with Amman.

Heba al-Labadi and Abdel Rahman Miri were detained a couple of months ago over suspicions of ties to terror groups and held without charge, sparking a diplomatic row between Jerusalem and Amman.

Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel, Ghassan Majali, last week to protest the pair’s detention.

“Heba al-Labadi and Abdel Rahman Miri will return home before the end of the week,” Safadi tweeted.

“The government has worked to secure their release since the first day [they were arrested] in accordance with strict instructions from his Majesty King Abdullah II to take all measures necessary to bring them back safely,” he added.

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaks during a joint conference with Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit in the Jordanian capital Amman on January 6, 2018. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)

Israel detained Labadi, 32, and Miri, 29, at the Allenby crossing in the Jordan Valley on August 20 and September 2, respectively. The Palestinian Authority Prisoners Affairs Commission has said that both of them were held under administrative detention orders.

Administrative detention is a measure that allows Israel to detain certain suspects for months at a time without indicting them or presenting details of the accusations against them.

Heba al-Labadi in an undated photo (Courtesy)

The Prime Minister’s Office said on Monday in a statement that Labadi and Miri were being sent back to Jordan under an agreement that would see Majali reinstalled in Tel Aviv.

The statement said that Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman and his Jordanian counterpart had agreed on “security arrangements regarding their release.”

“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,” the PMO statement said.

Raslan Mahajna, Labadi and Miri’s lawyer, said in a phone call on Monday that Majali had called him to confirm that his clients would return to Jordan soon.

He also said that Mohammed Hmeid, Jordan’s deputy ambassador to Israel, was on his way to visit Labadi Monday afternoon.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Jordan in January 2014 (Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90/ File)

A spokesman for the Shin Bet security service said last Wednesday that Labadi and Miri, who are of Palestinian descent, were being held “because of suspicions of their involvement in serious security violations,” without elaborating.

Mahajna said that Israeli authorities suspect that Labadi was planning to recruit Palestinians in the West Bank on behalf of the Hezbollah terror group to carry out attacks against Israel. He said she firmly denied those suspicions.

Abdel Rahman Miri, a Jordanian citizen detained by Israel.

Labadi has been carrying out a hunger strike for 42 days to protest her detention, the Prisoner’s Club, a group that mainly advocates for Palestinian prisoners, said on Monday.

Her health has recently deteriorated and she has visited the hospital on multiple occasions in the past two weeks, according to the organization.

Mahajna added that Israeli authorities suspect that Miri was a member of the Hamas terror group.

Miri has suffered from cancer since 2010 and needs regular medical checkups, according to the PA Prisoners Affairs Commission.

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