Jordan cancels part of peace agreement with Israel

Aaron Brown
October 22, 2018

Under the 1994 Wadi Araba Peace Treaty with Israel, Jordan has to decide whether or not to renew an agreement that placed thousands of dunums in Baqoura, in the north-western corner of the Kingdom, and Ghumar, south of the Dead Sea, at the disposal of Israeli farmers.

Abdullah also tweeted: "Baqoura and Ghamar have always been at the top of our priorities and our decision to terminate the annexation of Baqoura and Ghumar from the peace treaty is based on our commitment to take all necessary decisions for Jordan and Jordanians".

In a statement, Abdullah said Sunday that he would be pulling out of two annexes from the 1994 peace agreement that allowed Israel to lease two small areas, Baqura and Ghamr, from the Jordanians for 25 years. The lease on the two territories - known as Baqoura and Ghumar in Arabic and Naharayim and Zofar in Hebrew - ends in one year.

"These are Jordanian lands and they will remain", the monarch said.

Approximately 200 protesters had called on the government to invoke the ending of the deal before the deadline so that the lands could return to Jordanian sovereignty.

According to annex 1B in the agreement, after the end of the 25 years the agreement would be automatically renewed for an equal number of years unless one party informed the other of its desire to end it by a date no later than 25 October 2018.

"We will enter into negotiations with Jordan to extend the existing agreement, but the entire agreement from a comprehensive perspective is important and dear to both countries", said Netanyahu.

Despite the two sides sharing close security ties, there has been increased tensions between Jordan and Israel over the Israeli governments "provocative" measures ranging from placing restrictions on the Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque and the Noble Sanctuary - recognised in the peace treaty as under Jordanian custodianship - to the continued construction of settlements on 1967 territory.

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In response to the move, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged, as cited by Haaretz, to try and talk Jordan into extending the lease.

"According to our constitution, it is unacceptable that Jordanian lands are not under the country's sovereignty", he said.

Article 29 from the Wadi Araba peace treaty between Jordan and Israel states that resolving conflicts will be done through agreement between parties, and if that fails then it will be turned to arbitration.

Public sentiment in Jordan against Israel is strong because of its continued occupation of Palestinian territories and its treatment of Palestinians.

The two areas in the fertile Jordan Valley, the breadbasket for Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories, are recognised Jordanian territory with temporary Israeli land ownership rights.

Several Jordanian officials, analysts and MPs have privately said Israel has "taken Jordan for granted one too many times".

Relations thawed after Israel replaced its ambassador to Amman and Netanyahu met with Abdullah last summer to stress the importance of economic and security co-operation between the two countries.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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