Monday, 19 November, 2018

Jordanian King to end border land lease extension with Israel

Jordan cancels 2 annexes from peace treaty with Israel Jordan says it will cancel clauses in peace treaty leasing border land to Israel
Deanna Wagner | 21 October, 2018, 20:12

Jordan's King Abdullah II on Sunday ended a clause in the Wadi Arabah treaty, saying that Amman would not to agree renew an extension of a 25-year Israeli lease of border land under the 1994 agreement.

After Majali's interview sparked a debate in Parliament, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said during a Lower House oversight session on March 25: "Under the peace treaty with Israel, the two parties agreed that the areas will be under Jordanian sovereignty with Israeli private land-use rights".

"Our decision is to terminate the Baquoura and Ghamar annexes from the (1994 Jordan-Israel) peace treaty out of our keenness to take all decisions that would serve Jordan and Jordanians", said the King in his tweet.

The areas are Naharayim in the north and Tzofar in the south, known as Baqura and Ghamr in Arabic.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that "Jordan reserved the right to receive the territory", but said he expected to enter negotiations with Jordan "about the possibility of extending the existing agreement".

According to the terms of the treaty, the lease could only be annulled with one years notice.

Abdullah's decision comes amid increasing domestic pressure. Haaretz reported that eighty-seven Jordanian lawmakers signed a petition on the matter.

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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.

Jordanian security forces stand on guard as protesters wave Jordanian flags and chant slogans during a demonstration near the Israeli embassy in the capital Amman on July 28, 2017.

"There's no doubt that in a general outlook, the entire treaty is a valuable asset, important to both countries", he added.

According to Israeli officials, the decision is significant, as it marks a Jordanian desire to effectively reduce diplomatic ties with Israel.

Israel's former ambassador to Jordan, Oded Eran, said he was not surprised by Jordan's decision, and said there was still time for the two countries to re-negotiate the agreement.

It follows recent strains in the relationship between Jordan and Israel over issues including the status of Jerusalem and the lack of progress on a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.