Jordan recalls ambassador to Israel over detained nationals

Jordan recalls ambassador to Israel over detained nationals
3 min read
30 October, 2019
Hiba al-Labadi, 24, and Abdelrahman Merhi, 28, were arrested at a crossing between Jordan and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Hiba al-Labadi has been on hunger strike since September [Twitter]

Jordan announced on Tuesday that it had recalled its ambassador in Israel over the country's refusal to free two detained Jordanians, including a woman, who have been held since August. 

According to Amman, Hiba al-Labadi, 24, and Abdelrahman Merhi, 28, were arrested at a crossing between Jordan and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Labadi has been on a hunger strike since September in protest of the conditions of her detention.

Israel has not given reasons for their detention.

Since their arrests, Jordanian authorities have repeatedly called for their release, a demand Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi repeated on Tuesday.

"In view of Israel's refusal to respond to our persistent requests to release Jordanian nationals Hiba al-Labdi and Abdelrahman Merhi and the continuation of their illegal and inhumane detention, we have recalled our ambassador in Tel Aviv for consultations," Safadi said in a statement.

"We hold Israel completely responsible for the security of our citizens and we will continue to take all political, legal and diplomatic measures to guarantee their safe return."

He accused Israel of "endangering their lives because their health has deteriorated".

According to Jordanian media, Labadi has been on a hunger strike for a month and her health has suffered as a result, while Mehri, who was arrested in September, is suffering from cancer.

Labadi was arrested at the Allenby Bridge - also known as King Hussein crossing - in August while travelling with her mother and aunt from Jordan to the West Bank for a cousin's wedding.

Reports on social media indicate that Labadi was transferred to hospital due to her deteroriating health. Videos show scuffles between activists protesting her detention and Israeli police in the hospital.

Israel did not immediately comment on the recall of Jordan's ambassador.

The Palestinian Commission of Detainees' Affairs in October released disturbing details of the alleged torture suffered by Hiba al-Labadi at the hands of Israeli authorities.

The department published a statement by al-Labadi from 29 September in which she reported being verbally, physically, and psychologically abused by the interrogators and guards in the various prisons in which she has been held in administrative detention since 20 August.

Israel's widely condemned policy of administrative detention allows Palestinians to be detained without charge or trial for renewable intervals usually ranging between three to six months.

Read more: Palestinian hunger strikers: The frontline of an imprisoned nation

More than 400 Palestinians are being currently being held under the policy.

Later Tuesday the Jordanian foreign ministry announced the arrest of an unidentified Israeli man "who entered the kingdom in an illegal manner via the northern border".

Jordan is one of only two Arab countries - along with Egypt - to have a peace treaty with Israel.

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