Jordan cancels part of 1994 peace agreement with Israel

A view of the Jordan River Naharayim Isle of Peace

A view of the Jordan River Naharayim Isle of Peace

In a statement, Abdullah said he would be pulling out of two sectioned annexed to the peace agreement that allowed Israel to lease the areas from the Jordanians for 25 years.

Jordan told Israel on Sunday it would not renew a 25-year lease of two tracts of territory along its border, where Israel had certain rights under a 1994 peace treaty, but Israel said it would negotiate with Jordan to extend the lease.

The agreement will expire next year.

"We have informed Israel of an end to the application of the peace treaty annexes regarding al-Baqura and al-Ghumar", the king said on Sunday, according to Petra state news agency. "Our priority in these regional circumstances is to protect our interests and do whatever is required for Jordan and the Jordanians".

Responding to the announcement, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he meant to "negotiate with Jordan for its extension" adding that "there is no doubt that the entire agreement is important and dear to both our countries".

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.

Jordan is only one of two Arab countries that signed a peace treaty with Israel - the other being Egypt.

In the most recent demonstration on Friday, the Forum, which includes professional and trade unions, organised a protest march from the Professional Unions Complex to the government's headquarters on the Fourth Circle in Amman, which is 3km away.

The newspaper cited former Jordanian Prime Minister, Abdul Salam Majali, who said that Jordan may be prepared to buy back the land.

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"According to our constitution, it is unacceptable that Jordanian lands are not under the country's sovereignty", he said.

"We will enter into negotiations with the possibility of extending the existing arrangement".

The deal was signed in November 1994 by Abdullah's father, King Hussein, and then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Public sentiment in Jordan against Israel is strong because of its continued occupation of Palestinian territories and its treatment of Palestinians.

Political ties have also become strained over the Middle East peace process.

The two pieces of territory are Baqoura, also known Naharayim, a border area of six square kilometers in Jordan's northern Irbid province situated south of the Lake Kinneret, in the north of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, while Ghumar, also known as Zofar, another border area that covers four square kilometers in the southern Aqaba province and is located south of the Dead Sea.

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.

The arbitration clause in the Jordan-Israel agreement is the same as the one in the Camp David agreement, without specifying where it will take place and under which law it will be executed, Qassem explained.

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