Jordan to return its ambassador to Israel after prisoner exchange deal
Israeli government confirm the release of the 2 Jordanian nationals after an earlier statement by a senior Israeli official who said the pair are to be freed as gesture of goodwill; the kingdom's foreign minister claims they are to be released by ‘end of the week’
Israel says Jordan will return its ambassador to Israel in the coming days, after an agreement has been reached for the release of two Jordanian nationals currently held in adminstrative detention in Israel.
Jordan recalled its ambassador on Tuesday over the refusal of the Israeli government to release Hiba Labadi and Abdul Rahman Miri, who Jordan said had been illegally arrested without charge a few months ago.
"An agreement was reached between the countries for the transfer of the two Jordanians arrested in Israel to the Jordanian security forces," said Prime Minister's Office in a statement. "The head of the Shin Bet agreed on the terms of the transfer with his Jordanian counterpart," it added.
"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 Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat also confirmed the release after visiting Jordan, the pair are to be released as a gesture of goodwill. In addition, one of the detainees, who'd been on hunger strike for several weeks is said to have begun eating again.
Hours earlier, Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said two of its citizens detained by Israel after crossing into the West Bank would return to Jordan "before the end of the week".
"The government pursued the case from the start under direct instructions from His Majesty King Abdullah to take all necessary steps to release them whatever that may cost," Safadi said on his Twitter account.
Labadi, 24, was arrested in August after crossing to the West Bank to attend a family wedding. She subsequently went on a hunger strike and was hospitalized after her health deteriorated.
Miri, 29, was arrested last September after he also crossed into the West Bank to visit relatives.
Safadi said last month he held the Israeli government responsible for the lives of the two, adding that their health had severely deteriorated and warned the kingdom could escalate its actions if they were not released.
Israel's deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, said at the time both detainees were suspected of security offences, without being more specific.
Israel mainly uses administrative detention against Palestinians suspected of anti-Israeli activities.
It says the measure, which human rights groups have condemned, is aimed at preventing further violence in cases where there is insufficient evidence to prosecute or where court proceedings could expose the identity of secret informants.