King Abdullah declines to renew part of Jordan's peace deal with Israel
In a surprise announcement, Jordan said Sunday that it will not renew its lease to Israel of the Naharayim (Baqura) area near the Kinneret nor part of Zofar (al Ghamar), some 120 km north of Eilat.
Under the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace agreement, these two areas “will fall under Jordanian sovereignty with Israeli private land use rights. These rights include unimpeded freedom of entry to, exit from and movement within the area. These areas are not subject to customs or immigration legislation.
The Royal Palace issued a statement on Sunday saying that “Baqura and Ghamr areas have always been our top priority, and our decision is to end Article 2 of Annexes I (b) of the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty, emanating from our keenness to take whatever is necessary for Jordan and the Jordanians.”
Prime Minister Benmajmin Netanyahu said that Israel would enter into negotiations with Jordan over the matter.
Already in March, the Jordan Times reported that Amman was mulling terminating the treaty annexes, with Foreign Minister Ayman saying in parliament in response to a question about the issue that “the government is currently examining its decision regarding the nature of use of the Baqura and Ghumar areas in a way that serves the higher national interests,” Safadi said.
According to the report, ending the Israeli lease of the Baqoura and Ghumar areas has been a pressing demand of MPs, political parties and activists.