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  • King Abdullah II announced Sunday the end of a lease of two plots of land to Israel.

    King Abdullah II announced Sunday the end of a lease of two plots of land to Israel. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 November 2019

The two areas “are Jordanian land and will remain” part of the Arab country, the king said.

Jordan's King Abdullah II announced during a speech made Sunday before the country's new cabinet, that the lease of two plots of land to Israel has come to an end. 

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“I announce the end of the annex of the two areas, Ghamr and Baqura, in the peace treaty and impose our full sovereignty on every inch of them,” Abdullah II said.

According to the peace agreement signed by Jordan and Israel in October 1994, the Arab country would still have sovereignty over the areas, while Israel would lease them for a period of 25 years. Baqura is a six square kilometers area located in the north of the country, while Ghamr, which is in the southern part of Jordan, extends for four square kilometers. 

“We have informed Israel [that we are putting] an end to the application of the peace treaty annexes regarding Baqoura and Ghumar,” he said at the time, adding that Tel Aviv was “informed” regarding Amman’s decision.  In October 2018, Abdullah II had said the kingdom informed its neighboring country that it would not renew the lease.

The two areas “are Jordanian land and will remain” part of the Arab country, the king added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose country controlled the two regions for more than 70 years, responded at the time, that he still expected to negotiate a prolongation to the agreement. However, as the lease run out on Sunday, gates on the border were closed, and AFP reported that Israelis were prevented from entering the zones.

The King’s move came as 87 Jordanian MPs signed last year a petition demanding an end to the lease. In a country where many are of Palestinian origin, opinion polls also showed that the treaty, as well as ties with Tel Aviv, are widely rejected by the population.

Israel and Jordan which were officially at war from 1948 to 1994, have kept diplomatic relations since the signing of the peace deal. Yet, tensions between the two countries have been palpable over recent years. 

In July 2017, the Israeli mission in Amman was closed down after two Jordanians were shot down by an Israeli embassy guard.

Last month Jordan removed its ambassador from Israel as a result of the prolonged detention without trial of two Jordanian citizens. The ambassador returned to Israel after the two were released last week.

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