(October 24, 2018 / Israel Hayom) Members of the Jordanian Parliament on Tuesday demanded a special session be held to review the 1994 peace treaty with Israel, and some hawkish lawmakers urged King Abdullah to cancel the agreement altogether, local media reported.
The move followed an announcement by Abdullah on Sunday that he has decided to pull out of clauses in the agreement that allow Israel to lease two small areas—Baqura, known as Naharayim in Hebrew, in the northern Jordan Valley, and Ghamr in the south—from the Jordanians for 25 years.
The leases expire next year and the deadline for renewing them is Thursday.
Naharayim, a small parcel of land also called the “Isle of Peace,” has become the center of recent friction between the longtime peace partners.
The 1994 peace treaty, signed between then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Abdullah’s father, King Hussein, is vastly unpopular in Jordan, where pro-Palestinian sentiment is widespread.
Activists and politicians have been vocal against a renewal of the lease clauses, which they say is “humiliating” and perpetuates “Israeli occupation” of Jordanian territory.
Tensions between Israel and Jordan have mounted in recent months over such issues as the contested status of Jerusalem and its holy sites, the stalled Middle East peace talks, and last year’s shooting of two Jordanian citizens by an Israeli Embassy guard in Amman, which ignited a diplomatic crisis. Relations thawed after Israel replaced its ambassador.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that his government will enter negotiations with Amman on the issue, but Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Tuesday that there would be no negotiations with Israel over Jordanian sovereignty in the area.
The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan and anti-Israel activists plan to hold a mass march in the Jordanian capital on Friday, demanding that Abdullah nixes the peace deal with Israel.
A mass demonstration was held in Amman last week as well, lobbying for the same thing.
“The people want national honor,” the masses chanted.
Israel Hayom has learned that Jordanian security forces have been placed on high alert ahead of Friday’s march and that both uniformed and plain-clothed officers will be stationed near the Israeli Embassy in Amman. The roads leading up to the embassy will be closed as well, as a precaution.