Date :Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018 | Time : 13:00 |ID: 75156 | Print

Jordan King wants to reclaim land held by Israel under 1994 peace deal

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SHAFAQNA- The Jordans King Abdullah II has said that Jordan has notified Israel that it wants to reclaim two tracts of territories, leased to the Tel Aviv regim under a 1994 peace treaty, citing national interests.

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

According to a peace treaty inked by Jordan and Israel on October 26, 1994, 405 hectares of agricultural land were leased to Israel for a 25-year , with a 12-month notice period needed to prevent an automatic extension.

The two pieces of territory are located in the southern sector of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories border with Jordan called Baqoura  and Ghumar.

The deadline for renewing both leases of the deal is this coming Thursday, October 25.

“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 the Petra state news agency.

Al-Baqura and al-Ghumar have always been on top of my priorities. Our decision is to end the annexes of the peace treaty based on our keenness to take all that is necessary for Jordan and Jordanians,” the king added.

“Al-Baqura and al-Ghumar are Jordanian land and will remain Jordanian.”

Israel seeks negotiation with Jordan

Following the king’s announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in public remarks, said that Israel would negotiate with Jordan an extension of the leases, which expire next year.

“We will enter into negotiations with [Jordan] to option an extension of the existing lease agreement,” Israeli media quoted him as saying.

Growing pressure

It seems that the Jordanian leader is under an ongoing pressure from the country’s parliament. 85 Jordanian members of parliament signed a petition urging the king to intervene so that the lease agreement would not be renewed.

MP Khalil Atiyeh told Al Jazeera that we have been demanding the scrapping of this agreement that was not in the interest of Jordan or the Jordanian people for over a year.

Observers said the king’s decision is expected to be positively received by the Jordanian public.

Sufyan al-Tell, a former United Nations environmental official and outspoken critic of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, said the king’s announcement is “timely and reflects the will of the people of Jordan”.

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

Israel-Jordan relations have been strained in recent years, particularly due to Amman’s stance on the issue of Jerusalem. Earlier this year, Jordanian King Abdullah II confirmed that East Jerusalem should be the capital of a future Palestinian state, while Israel views Jerusalem as its official capital, Sputnik News mentioned.

It is unclear how and when the territories will be returned back to Jordan’s ownership. The territories have been under Israeli control since 1948.

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