Jordan cancels part of 1994 peace agreement with Israel

A view of the Jordan River Naharayim Isle of Peace

Jordan's announcement on Sunday that it wanted to opt out of annexes from its 1994 peace treaty with Israel that leased two border areas that historically were hard to delineate to Israel is a sign that not all is well in ties between the two countries.

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.

In a statement, Abdullah said Sunday that he would be pulling out of two annexes from the 1994 peace agreement that allowed Israel to lease two small areas, Baqura and Ghamr, from the Jordanians for 25 years. The agreement would remain in force for 25 years and renewed automatically unless notice of termination was given by either party one year in advance. "But there is no doubt, from a comprehensive perspective, that the entire agreement is an important asset, important and dear, to both countries", Netanyahu said.

According to Blum, around 30 Israeli farmers will lose some 250 acres of land if the areas revert to Jordanian control.

Under Jordan's constitutional monarchy, only King Abdullah has the power to eventually rescind the peace deal with Israel. Al Ghamr lies in the southern Jordan Valley.

But he said Israel "will enter negotiations with it on the possibility of extending the current arrangement".

Internal pressure might be a major reason for the King's decision, but not necessarily the only one.


Netanyahu spoke at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem during the official memorial ceremony for assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, who signed the original peace treaty with Jordan.

In very general terms, it's fair to say that the 1994 peace agreement did not filter down to Jordanian masses.

"For its own interests, the continuation of the adherence to the peace treaty is in Jordan's interest as indeed it is in the interest of Israel", Eran added.

Under the treaty, Israel retained private land ownership and special travel rights in Baquora in the northwestern part of the kingdom and Ghumar in the south.

Despite the two sides sharing close security ties, there has been increased tensions between Jordan and Israel over the Israeli governments "provocative" measures ranging from placing restrictions on the Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque and the Noble Sanctuary - recognised in the peace treaty as under Jordanian custodianship - to the continued construction of settlements on 1967 territory.

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.

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.

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