Jordan Cancels Part Of Peace Agreement With Israel

Jordan Cancels Part Of Peace Agreement With Israel

Jordan Cancels Part Of Peace Agreement With Israel

"We are practicing our full sovereignty on our land", King Abdullah II said Sunday, announcing the Kingdom's intention to opt out of parts of the peace treaty which permitted Israelis to use 405 hectares of their farmland.

Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel threatened on Monday to cut off water to Jordan in response to King Abdullah's decision to cancel a land-annexing article in its peace deal with Tel Aviv.

Under Annex I (b) and (c) Jordan leased the Naharayim/Baqura and the Zofar/Al-Ghamr areas, formally under Jordanian sovereignty, to Israel for a period of 25 years which was to be automatically renewed for the same period on an ongoing basis.

"Baqura and Ghumar have always been at the top of our priorities, and we have made a decision to put an end to the application of the peace treaty annexes regarding Baqura and Ghumar", King Abdullah further said.

On Friday, protesters in Amman called on the king to cancel the lease and reclaim sovereignty over the territories; others called on Jordan to cancel the entire peace treaty with Israel. "These circumstances indicate that it is in Jordan's own interest to continue adhering to the peace treaty", he said.

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.

After the king's announcement on Sunday, Jordanians took to social media, calling it a "historic and wise decision". Ghamr, near Aqaba in southern Jordan, was seized in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

The deal was signed in November 1994 by Abdullah's father, King Hussein, and then-Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. The soldier, Ahmed Daqamseh, was apprehended by Jordanian forces and sentenced to life in prison, but was released before he served even 20 years.

Relations deteriorated previous year after an Israeli guard at the Israeli embassy in Amman shot and killed two Jordanians, saying one, a teenager, had tried to attack him with a screwdriver and that a second person was hit in the crossfire.

Tensions between Israel and Jordan have mounted in recent months over such issues as the contested status of Jerusalem and its holy sites, stalled Mideast peace talks, and last year's shooting of two Jordanian citizens by an Israeli embassy guard in Amman, which ignited a diplomatic crisis. They have also been expanding economic ties in the previous year.

Israel returned the land to Jordan in 1994, however, according to the peace accord, Israelis were given private land ownership rights and property interests.

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.

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