Jordan cancels part of country's landmark peace treaty with Israel

A view of the Jordan River Naharayim Isle of Peace

Jordan's announcement on Sunday that it wanted to opt out of annexes from its 1994 peace treaty with Israel that leased two border areas that historically were hard to delineate to Israel is a sign that not all is well in ties between the two countries.

Abdullah released a statement that he intends to pull out of two annexes from the 1994 peace agreement that allowed Israel to lease two small areas, Baqura and Ghamr, from the Jordanians for 25 years. The leases expire next year.

"Our priorities in such hard regional circumstances are protecting our interests and doing everything necessary for Jordan and the Jordanians", Abdullah II noted, adding that Israel had been made aware of the decision.

"We are practicing our full sovereignty on our land", he said. He said this has been a top priority for "a long time", and that Jordan's priorities "in such hard regional circumstances are protecting our interests and doing everything necessary for Jordan and the Jordanians".

Netanyahu, in public remarks, said Jordan wants to implement its option to end the lease, and Israel "will enter negotiations with it on the possibility of extending the current arrangement".

There was no immediate Israeli reaction.

Jordan is one of only two Arab states that has a peace treaty with Israel and the two countries have a long history of close security ties.

Activists have been asking the government not to renew the agreement and to annul Israel's ownership of Jordanian lands. Al Ghamr lies in the southern Jordan Valley. The armistice after the 1948 war stated that the land was in Jordanian territory, and not what is now modern-day Israel.

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"His Majesty the King has secured the will of Jordanians to restore Baqora and Al Ghamer and closed the door to any attempts to undermine the independence of our decision-making", Parliament speaker Atef Tarawneh said in a tweet. They have also been expanding economic ties in the a year ago.

"For its own interests, the continuation of the adherence to the peace treaty is in Jordan's interest as indeed it is in the interest of Israel", Eran added.

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

In fact, Naharayim - Hebrew for two rivers, as it is located between the Yarmuk and Jordan Rivers - was opened this year to Israeli visitors under the name "Island of Peace".

In line with the 1994 peace agreement, which stipulated a one-year notice period, Jordan granted Israel private ownership rights in two border territories.

"There is an extensive range of agreements between Israel and Jordan", he said.

Relations between Jordan and Israel deteriorated previous year when an Israeli security officer shot and killed two unarmed Jordanian men in the Israeli embassy in Amman.

It follows recent strains in the relationship between Jordan and Israel over issues including the status of Jerusalem and the lack of progress on a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

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