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Israel Frees Two Jordanians, Denied Entry By Lebanon

April 18, 1995

TYRE, Lebanon (AP) _ Two Jordanians who served prison terms in Israel for guerrilla activity spent their first night of freedom in a U.N.-policed zone in Lebanon, which refused them entry, security sources said today.

Mohammed Joulani, 27, and Khamis Khodor, 58, were taken by Israeli troops Monday afternoon to the Hamra coastal crossing point in the Israeli-occupied sector of south Lebanon, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The pair walked across the U.N. zone to a Lebanese army checkpoint where they were turned back, the sources reported. The Jordanians returned to a U.N. checkpoint and spent the night with U.N. peacekeepers.

``The U.N. command ... contacted Lebanese authorities, but they refused to take them,″ said Timur Goksel, spokesman for the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon.

Khamis and Joulani were freed from a prison in Ashkelon, southern Israel. Khamis had been behind bars for 13 years, Joulani for 25.

They told U.N. officers they were captured during separate guerrilla operations but refused to say to which Palestinian faction they belonged. Lebanese army sources said they were members of PLO leader Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction.

There was no immediate explanation why the Jordanians were dropped off in Lebanon instead of along the Jordanian border, since the kingdom signed a peace treaty with Israel Oct. 26.

As a policy, the Lebanese government refuses entry to non-Lebanese expelled by Israel. In December 1992, Israel deported 415 Palestinian activists into Lebanon, but the Beirut government wouldn’t let them in.

The men spent a year in a no-man’s land before Israel bowed to international pressure and allowed most of them back into the occupied territories.

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