Israel Frees 2 Jordanians in Bid to Reverse Worsening Ties
Israel released two jailed Jordanian citizens on Wednesday in what was clearly an effort to reduce diplomatic tensions. The two, a man and a woman, both of Palestinian background, were arrested separately while crossing into the West Bank from Jordan several months ago. Israel placed them in what it calls “administrative detention,” an open-term category of arrest that requires no trials or even charges, and is usually reserved for people suspected of security offenses. This angered many Jordanians, especially after the woman, 32-year-old Hiba al-Labadi, went on a hunger strike. With diplomatic ties so cool that the 25th anniversary of the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty passed virtually unnoticed last month, the arrests led Amman to recall its ambassador. Labadi and the man, Abdel Rahman Miri, 28, headed straight back to Jordan after their release. Perhaps to save face, Avi Dichter, Israel’s deputy defense minister who once headed the country’s internal security service, the Shin Bet, told the parliament in Jerusalem that their detention and questioning had prevented terror attacks by both Hamas and Hizbullah. He did not elaborate.