AMMAN (Reuters) – Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel for consultations in protest over Israel’s refusal to heed its demands to release two citizens it said were illegally detained for months without charges, the kingdom’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.
Ayman Safadi said in a tweet 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.
Labadi, 24, went on a hunger strike and was hospitalized after her health deteriorated. She was arrested in August after crossing to the West Bank to attend a family wedding and so far has not been indicted.
Safadi said Israel’s administrative detention of both citizens was “illegal” and vowed his country would “take all necessary legal and diplomatic measures to ensure their safe return home.”
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 neighbor, fears Israel’s possible annexation of territory in the occupied West Bank, where expansion of settlement building over several decades has dimmed prospects of a future Palestinian state.
The peace treaty with Israel is unpopular among the people of Jordan, where pro-Palestinian sentiment is widespread. Many of Jordan’s 7 million citizens are of Palestinian origin.
(The story is refiled to clarify that Jordan fears possible annexation)
Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi in Amman; Editing by Chris Reese and Matthew Lewis