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Jordan wants to cancel clauses in peace treaty with Israel

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Amman, Oct 23: The bilateral relations between Jordan and Israel is on the brink of collapse after King Abdullah II of Jordan decided to reclaim lands used by Israel under a 25-year old peace treaty.

King Abdullah II of Jordan. PTI file photo

King Abdullah II of Jordan said that he was cutting off Israelis' free access to two tracts of land along the border that fall within Jordanian territory, but where Jews historically have had private land use rights.

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King Abdullah II, tweeted, "Al-Baqoura and Al-immor has always been our top priority, and our decision is to end Al-Ba'qora's annexation and subjugation to the peace agreement based on our keenness to take whatever is necessary for Jordan and Jordanians."

For nearly a quarter of a century, as part of the 1994 peace treaty between the two former foes, Israeli farmers and tourists have enjoyed the fruits and picturesque attractions of the areas. One of them, a pocket of land about 10 miles south of the Sea of Galilee, sandwiched between the Jordan and Yarmouk Rivers, is known in Hebrew as "the Island of Peace."

According to reports, King Abdullah did not give a reason for his decision, but he has been under domestic pressure to end the lease.

Reacting to Jordan's announcement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that despite the monarch's announcement, the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty is "an agreement of true peace."

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"We will enter into negotiations with Jordan to extend the existing agreement, but the entire agreement from a comprehensive perspective is important and dear to both countries," Times of Israel quoted Netanyahu as saying.

What is Jordan-Israel peace treaty?

The treaty settled relations between the two countries, adjusted land and water disputes, and provided for broad cooperation in tourism and trade. It included a pledge that neither Jordan nor Israel would allow its territory to become a staging ground for military strikes by a third country.

On 26 October 1994, Jordan and Israel signed the peace treaty in a ceremony held in the Arava valley of Israel, north of Eilat and near the Jordanian border. Prime Minister Rabin and Prime Minister Abdelsalam al-Majali signed the treaty and the President of Israel Ezer Weizman shook hands with King Hussein. Clinton observed, accompanied by US Secretary of State Warren Christopher. Thousands of colorful balloons released into the sky ended the event.

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