Jordan cancels part of its peace deal with Israel

Amman: King Abdullah of Jordan said on Sunday that he has decided to terminate two annexes from the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty, according to a tweet by the king.

Jordan is to terminate the annexes of “Baquoura” and “Ghumar” from the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty, known as Wadi Araba Peace Treaty.

The annexes place thousands of acres in Baqoura, northwestern of Jordan, and Ghumar, south of the Dead Sea, at the disposal of Israeli farmers.

Part of the agreement was that Jordan would lease Jordanian land to Israel.

Therefore, these two areas in the agreement were to “fall under Jordanian sovereignty with Israeli private land use rights. These rights include unimpeded freedom of entry to, exit from and movement within the area. These areas are not subject to customs or immigration legislation.”

The debate in Jordan was that nowhere in the peace treaty was there a mention of the term “lease”, despite the prevailing “public perception”, concerning those two areas.

With the validity of the treaty’s annex ending on October 25, activists have been asking the government not to renew the agreement and to annul Israel’s use of Jordanian lands.

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. 

Majali’s interview sparked national debate over the land, the treaty and the government’s decision after 25 years.

According to the agreement, the annex governing the two areas “will remain in force for 25 years, and shall be renewed automatically for the same periods, unless one year prior notice of termination is given by either Party, in which case, at the request of either Party, consultations shall be entered into.”

As October 25 October 25 marks that one-year deadline, King Abdullah during his meeting with political dignitaries at Husseiniya Palace, said “Jordan today informed Israel of its decision to terminate the two annexes of the peace treaty.”

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.

“These rights include unimpeded freedom of entry to, exit from and movement within the area, as well as not being subject to customs or immigration legislation.”

“Baqoura and Ghumar were at the top of our priorities,” the King said in his tweet.

“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.


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