Jordan to retake lands leased by Israel

Jordan has pulled out of a 25-year-old landmark agreement that allowed Israeli farmers to cultivate in two pieces of agricultural lands that was leased by Israel.

Under the deal, part of the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty, two territories straddling the border were recognised as under Jordanian sovereignty but with special provisions allowing Israeli farmers to work the land and visitors to tour the Isle of Peace park in the area.

But in 2018, Jordan said it did not want to continue the arrangement, in what was widely seen as a sign of increasingly strained diplomatic relations.

King Abdullah formally declared on Sunday the end of the 25-year special regime, which most Jordanians saw as a humiliation that perpetuated Israeli “occupation” of Jordanian territory.

“I announce the end of the work in the special annex in the two areas Ghumar and Baqoura [Naharayim in Hebrew], in the peace treaty and impose our full sovereignty on every inch of them,” the king said in a speech marking the start of a new parliamentary session.

For the Israelis farming the land, the agreement’s expiry is a sharp blow. “It was like a punch to the face,” said Eli Arazi, 74, a farmer whose community worked one of the land parcels in Baqoura.


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