Jordan terminates part of peace treaty with Israel

Saul Bowman
October 23, 2018

Jordan will not negotiate with Israel to renew part of the 1994 peace treaty that granted the Jewish state use of two small agricultural areas along the border, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Monday night, dashing hopes in Jerusalem that Amman could be convinced to reverse course.

Much of the land in Baquora in the northwestern part of the kingdom and Ghumar in the south is used by Israeli farmers, some of whom were given private land ownership rights and special travel rights under a 1994 peace treaty between the two countries. "We are practicing our full sovereignty on our land", he said.

In fact, Naharayim - Hebrew for two rivers, as it is located between the Yarmuk and Jordan Rivers - was opened this year to Israeli visitors under the name "Island of Peace".

Jordan's decision to downgrade its peace treaty with Israel came as a complete surprise to Jerusalem, as it means the handing over of territories to the Jordanians. "We are practising our full sovereignty on our land", he said. "These circumstances indicate that it is in Jordan's own interest to continue adhering to the peace treaty", he said.

According to Safadi, these rights were due to remain in force for 25 years and will be renewed automatically for the same period unless either country wishes to terminate the arrangement, in which case consultations will be held.

Last week, mass demonstrations took place in Amman, as well as social media campaigns demanding that Jordan reclaim sovereignty over Baqura and Ghamr, with slogans such as "The people want national honor" and "The story is about national sovereignty". Ghamr, near Aqaba in southern Jordan, was seized in the 1967 Mideast War.


With the validity of the treaty's annex ending on October 25, debate over the land, the treaty and the government's decision resurfaced after 25 years.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein of Jordan sign the Washington Agreement on the White House Lawn as U.S. President Bill Clinton watches.

Relations deteriorated a year ago 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.

Israel and Jordan were embroiled previous 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.

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

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