Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

Jordanian ambassador recalled from Israel over detained citizens

Ayman Safadi said the Jordanian pair's health is suffering from prolonged detention without charge

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said he held the Israeli government responsible for the lives of Hiba Labadi and Abdul Rahman Miri. Reuters
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said he held the Israeli government responsible for the lives of Hiba Labadi and Abdul Rahman Miri. Reuters

Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel in protest at an Israeli refusal to release two Jordanians Amman said have been illegally detained for months, the kingdom's foreign minister said.

Ayman Safadi said he held the Israeli government responsible for the lives of Hiba Labadi and Abdul Rahman Miri, whose "health conditions have severely deteriorated." He added that recalling the envoy was a first step but did not elaborate.

Ms Labadi, 24, went on hunger strike in jail and was taken to hospital when her health deteriorated. She was arrested in August after crossing into the West Bank to attend a family wedding and so far has not been charged with an offence.

Israel claims the Jordanian-Palestinian dual national met with people affiliated with Hezbollah as she visited her sister in Beirut. Ms Labadi's lawyer said she only met with an announcer at a Hezbollah-owned radio station.

“After Hiba announced her hunger strike, she was transferred to isolation in Jalameh Prison, where she reports being abused and harassed by the prison guards attempting to make her end her hunger strike,” Palestinian NGO Addameer, which represents the cases of Palestinian prisoners, said.

Mr Safadi said on Tuesday that Israel's administrative detention of both citizens was "illegal" and promised that Jordan would "take all necessary legal and diplomatic measures to ensure their safe return home".

A Jordanian MP escalated the crisis when he floated the idea of using a recently arrested Israeli as a bargaining chip.

"We support the government and urge it to take this vital step to pressure Israel," Khalil Atya said.

The Israeli citizen crossed into Jordan illegally, said Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Sufyan Al Qudah.

The Israeli military confirmed that an Israeli citizen had entered Jordan.

Jordan's relations with Israel have been strained in recent years and the kingdom, which is one of only two Arab states that have a peace treaty with its neighbour, fears Israel's possible annexation of territory in the occupied West Bank.

Updated: October 30, 2019 04:23 PM

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