Israel ‘regrets’ Jordan’s reclaiming of enclaves on border

November 11, 2019 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israel “regrets” Jordan’s decision to terminate the annexes to the 1994 peace agreement which leased two enclaves on the border to Israeli farmers, the Foreign Ministry stated Sunday.

A view from Naharayim ( Two rivers) and Peace Park in Israel on a Jordanian flag flies on a military post, from which seven girls were shot to death by a Jordanian soldier in 1997. Naharayim, Oct 2, 2019. Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS

Israel over the weekend bid farewell to the Zofar and Naharayim areas on the border with Jordan and returned them to the control of the Hashemite Kingdom, parting from the Island of Peace after 25 years.

Jordan announced in October 2018 its withdrawal from part of the 1994 peace agreement with Israel and said that the agricultural areas of Naharayim and Zofar in the Jordan Valley, cultivated by Israeli farmers over the past 25 years under the agreement and decades before that, will be reclaimed by the kingdom.

Despite Israeli attempts to change Jordan’s decision, the Kingdom moved forward and reclaimed the two enclaves on Saturday afternoon. IDF soldiers closed the gate to the area for the last time and declared it a closed military zone.

Israeli farmers will still have access to their fields in the area in the coming six months.

“The Government of Jordan will continue to respect private ownership rights in Naharayim,” the Foreign Ministry stated.

Regarding Zofar, “the government of Jordan will allow Israeli farmers to harvest the crops that were planted before the annex expired,” the statement said.

A Jordanian foreign ministry official stated that the peace agreement recognizes private ownership in Naharayim, and Jordan would allow any Israeli citizen who proves his property ownership to obtain a visa from the Jordanian Embassy in Tel Aviv to enter the Kingdom via official borders.

“The right of ownership will be respected in accordance with the Jordanian law,” he said.

Israel’s diplomatic relations with Jordan have been tense for years, and especially after the Hashemite Kingdom announced it would withdraw from part of the peace agreement with Israel.

While Jordan officially remains committed to the peace agreement, relations are limited largely to behind-the-scenes security ties and some environmental cooperation.

The Jordanians overwhelmingly reject the peace agreement and any form of normalization with Israel.

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