Jordan shocks Jerusalem, downgrades peace treaty with Israel

Lester Mason
Октября 21, 2018

Jordan's King Abdullah II says he has decided not to renew parts of his country's landmark peace treaty with Israel.

Earlier King Abdullah of Jordan issued a statement saying it wanted to end the lease, which has seen the two areas, covering a total of about 405 hectares (1,000 acres), cultivated by Israeli farmers.

The lease governing them was for 25 years and had been due for renewal.

The areas had always been a "top priority" for Jordan and the decision was based on "our keenness to take whatever is necessary for Jordan and Jordanians", the statement said.

"Under the peace treaty with Israel, the two parties agreed that the areas will be under Jordanian sovereignty with Israeli private land-use rights", Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said during a parliamentary session in March cited by the Jordan Times.

Netanyahu, in public remarks, said Jordan wants to implement its option to end the lease, and Israel "will enter negotiations with it on the possibility of extending the current arrangement".

There was no immediate Israeli reaction.

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On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that despite the monarch's announcement, the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty is "an agreement of true peace".

The areas are Naharayim in the north and Tzofar in the south, known as Baqura and Ghamr in Arabic. Haaretz reported that eighty-seven Jordanian lawmakers signed a petition on the matter.

Netanyahu said the "accord as a whole is an important thing", and called the peace deals with Jordan and Egypt "anchors of regional stability".

Israel and Jordan were embroiled past year in a diplomatic standoff following the shooting deaths of two Jordanians in July 2017 by an Israeli security guard, Ziv Moyal, who Israel said opened fire in self-defense after one of the men tried to stab him. As put by former premier, Abdul Salam Majali, in a recent TV interview, Jordan may have to buy back the land from owners, or just hope that the Israeli side will return it to Jordan free of charge.

Baqura is a border area of six square kilometers (2.4 sq miles) in Jordan's northern Irbid province, while Ghumar covers four square kilometres in the southern Aqaba province.

When it was signed in 1994, the Wadi Araba treaty made Jordan one of only two Arab countries to have reached a peace agreement with Israel, along with Egypt in 1979.

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