Israel releases 10 Jordanian prisoners (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By MARGOT DUDKEVITCH 11/25/03)
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As a gesture to Jordan and those celebrating the Moslem Eid al Fitr
holiday, Israel released ten Jordanians incarcerated in Israel, none
were said to have blood on their hands.
The group were driven to the Allenby Bridge international border
crossing and released in the late afternoon.
Jordanian State Minister Asma Khader criticised the release saying it
was insufficient and demanded that Israel release fifty.
While Israeli government officials insisted that ten Jordanians were
released, the IDF Spokesman confirmed that four were released from
the Ofer Prison in the Judea district and Prison Authority spokesman
Ofer Leffler said five were released from prisons, four men and a
woman, from the Nafha, Nitzan and Neve Tirza prisons.
The majority were sentenced for entering Israel illegally, one of the
prisoners incarcerated in a military prison was involved in terrorist
activities and of the five released by the Prison Authority, two had
been punished for security violations that included entering Israel
illegally, belonging to an enemy organization and dealing in weapons.
The names of those released are Taleb Mahmud Ahmed Mashani, Haider
Russin Fawzi Rashid, Osama Abdel Rahman Salah,Nasser Fawzi Abu
Sa´ada, Omar Ahmed Abu Griban,Nahed Yusef Otman Dais, Mohammed Mahmud
Suliman Ganana,Mussa Hassan Abdel Hamed Abu Srour, Ibrahim al Kurna
and Tarek Mohammed Halil Nabhan.
The nine prisoners released were among some 80 Jordanian prisoners
being held in Israeli jails.
Israel has repeatedly refused to release four Jordanians convicted of
killing Israelis before the two countries signed a peace agreement in
Israeli diplomatic officials said that although the prisoner issue is
not a major issue in Jordan, Israel wanted to demonstrate to the
Jordanians that there are benefits and dividends from ties with
The last time Israel released Jordanian prisoners was in 1999, when
five were released as a good will measure to King Hussein.
The official said the decision to release the prisoners had nothing
to do with Israeli attempts to get the Jordanians to return to their
ambassador to Israel. Nevertheless, the official said, this
does "contribute to an improved atmosphere."
Jordan, along with Egypt, withdrew its ambassador soon after the
start of the Palestinian violence in September 2000.
The official said that the release was not connected to the pending
prisoner release deal with Hizbullah. Nevertheless, the Jordanians
made it clear in recent months that in order not to add to
Hizbulllah´s popularity, Jordanian prisoners should not be released
in a deal with Hizbullah, but rather as a separate gesture to King
The prisoner release comes amid intense German-mediated talks with
Hizbullah to obtain the release of an Israeli businessman and the
bodies of three Israeli soldiers captured by the Lebanese guerrilla
group in October 2000. In exchange, Israel is set to release some 400
Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners.
Initially, Hizbullah wanted Israel to release the Jordanian prisoners
as part of its swap, but Israel refused.
Herb Keinon contributed to this story (© 1995-2003, The Jerusalem
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