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Jordan terminates Baqoura, Ghumar annexes in peace treaty with Israel

Foreign Ministry already informed Israeli side as move met with praise locally

By Mohammad Ghazal - Oct 22,2018 - Last updated at Oct 23,2018

An old electricity power plant is seen in Baqoura, a Jordanian land that was placed under a special regime in the 1994 peace treaty with Israel. Jordan has decided to cancel the annexes dealing with this land and another in Ghumar, a right maintained in the peace pact (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday announced that Jordan took a decision to terminate the annexes of Baqoura and Ghumar in the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty.

“Baqoura and Ghumar have always been at the top of our priorities…our decision is to terminate the Baqoura and Ghumar annexes from the [1994 Jordan-Israel] peace treaty out of our keenness to take all decisions that would serve Jordan and Jordanians,” said the King in a Tweet on his official Twitter account.

In implementation of His Majesty’s Directives, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it presented on Sunday two letters to the Israeli Foreign Ministry informing it officially of Jordan’s decision to terminate the annexes, according to a statement by the ministry sent to The Jordan Times.

Jordan has to decide whether or not to renew an agreement that placed thousands of dunums in Baqoura, in the north-western corner of the Kingdom, and Ghumar, south of the Dead Sea, at the disposal of Israeli farmers before October 25 as the annexes make it necessary for the country to give a one-year notice to Israel of its intention not to renew the agreement on these two areas. Otherwise, the deal, which should be over in October 2019, is automatically renewed.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would negotiate with Jordan an extension of a 25-year Israeli “lease” of border land. 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”, according to Reuters.

“Jordan used its legal rights as stipulated in the peace deal with Israel and decided to give a formal notice to the Israelis of its intention not to renew the agreement over these two areas one year before the due date”, Jordan Bar Association President Mazen Irsheidat to The Jordan Times on Monday.

“Jordan is a country that respects the international law and honours conventions and treaties it is signatory to. Jordan resorted to using rights it is entitled to under the peace treaty to restore its sovereignty over these areas,” Irsheidat said Monday.

“Even if the claims that some plots of lands in these two areas are owned by some Israelis are true, it is not a problem at all. In Jordan, some properties and plots of lands are owned by foreigners and all are treated equally under the law…Jordan is a state of law that does not discriminate between people based on their religion or nationality,” Irsheidat added.

The annexes on the two areas in the peace treaty stipulate that Jordan and Israel agree that a special regime will apply to the Baqoura and Ghumar on a temporary basis effective upon the signing of the peace deal, for a period of 25 years ending in October 2019.

Recognising that in the area which is under Jordan’s sovereignty with Israeli private land ownership rights and property interests in the land comprising the area, Jordan undertakes to grant without charge unimpeded freedom of entry to, exit from land and not to impose discriminatory taxes or charges with regard to the land or activities within the area, according to a copy of the two annexes.

The annexes, which confirm Jordan’s sovereignty over the two areas, oblige Israel not to carry out or allow the conduction of activities prejudicial to the peace or security of Jordan in the area, including dumping of wastes.

The annexes also stipulate that: “Without prejudice to private rights of ownership of land within the area, this annex will remain in force for 25 years, and shall be renewed automatically for the same periods, unless one year prior notice of termination is given by either party, in which case, at the request of either party, consultations shall be entered into.”

Commending the move, Ibrahim Tarawneh, president of the Professional Associations Council, said: “His Majesty’s Directives meet citizens’ demands and repeated calls for restoring the sovereignty over these two areas.”

“Jordan has never violated a convention or treaty and it used its legal rights to restore its sovereignty. This decision is a valid and legitimate right for Jordan and it satisfies the public who have been pushing and calling for such a move,” Tarawneh told The Jordan Times on Monday.

“Restoring Jordanian sovereignty and applying Jordanian law in these Jordanian territories is Jordan’s full right…The King took citizens’ demands into consideration when issuing such Directives and even if some Jewish families own lands, this is not a concern to anyone,” he said.

Under the 1994 Wadi Araba Peace Treaty with Israel, in the former, some Israeli citizens have “ownership rights” that date back to 1926, when Russian Jewish engineer, Pinhas Rutenberg, who was a co-founder of the terrorist Haganah Jewish militia, obtained a concession for building a plant to be used for production and distribution of electric power.

Activists and various segments of the society have been asking the government not to renew the agreement and to annul Israel’s ownership of Jordanian lands. 

Public figures, associations and political parties commended the move to revoke the deal. The Islamic Action Front Party, the largest opposition party, praised the King’s decision, describing it as a response to the public will.

 

Wadi Araba Peace Treaty annexes on Baqoura, Ghumar

Annex I (b)

The Baqoura 

1.The two parties agree that a special regime will apply to the Baqoura on a temporary basis.

2.Recognising that in the area which is under Jordan's sovereignty with Israeli private land ownership rights and property interests in the land comprising the area, Jordan undertakes:

•To grant without charge unimpeded freedom of entry to, exit from land;

•Usage and movement within the area to the land-owners and to their invitees or employees and to allow the land owners freely to dispose of their land in accordance with applicable Jordanian law;

A.Not to apply its customs or immigration legislation to land-owners, their invitees or employees crossing from Israel directly to the area for the purpose of gaining access to the land for agricultural, touristic or any agreed purpose.

B.Not to impose discriminatory taxes or charges with regard to the land or activities within the area.

C.To take all necessary measures to protect and prevent harassment of or harm to any person entering the area.

D.To permit with the minimum of formality, uniformed officers of the Israeli police force, access to the area for the purpose of investigating crime or dealing with other incidents solely involving the landowners, their invitees or employees.

3.Recognising Jordanian sovereignty over the area, Israel undertakes:

A.Not to carry out or allow to be carried out in the area activities prejudicial to the peace or security of Jordan;

B.Not to allow any person entering the area to carry weapons of any kind in the area; unless authorised by the licencing authorities in Jordan after being processed by the liaison committee.

C.Not to allow the dumping of wastes from outside the area into the area.

4.Subject to this Annex, Jordanian law will apply to this area.

A.Israeli law applying to the extra territorial activities of Israelis may be applied to Israelis and their activities in the area, and Israel.

B.May take measures in the area to enforce such laws.

C.Jordan will not apply its criminal law to activities in the area which involve only Israeli nationals.

5.In the event of any joint projects to be agreed and developed by the parties in the area, the terms of this annex may be altered for the purpose of the joint project by agreement between the parties at any time. One of the options to be discussed in the context of the joint projects would be the establishment of a Free Trade Zone.

6.Without prejudice to private rights of ownership of land within the area, this annex will remain in force for 25 years, and shall be renewed automatically for the same periods, unless one year prior notice of termination is given by either party, in which case, at the request of either party, consultations shall be entered into.

7.In addition to the requirement referred to in article 4 (a) of this annex, the acquisition of the land in the area by persons who are not Israeli citizens shall take place only with the prior approval of Jordan.

8.A Jordanian-Israeli Liaison Committee is hereby established in order to deal with all matters arising under this Annex.

 

Annex I (c)

Al Ghumar

1.The two parties agree that a special regime will apply to Ghumar area on a temporary basis, as set out in this annex. 

2.Recognising that in the area which is under Jordan’s sovereignty with Israeli private land use rights in the land comprising the area , Jordan undertakes:

A.To grant without charge unimpeded freedom of entry to, exit from land usage and movement within the area to the land-users and to their invitees or employees and to allow the land-users freely to dispose of their rights in the usage of the land in accordance with applicable Jordanian law.

B.Not to apply its customs or immigration legislation to land-users, their invitees or employees crossing from Israel directly to the area for the purpose of gaining access to the land for agricultural or any agreed purpose.

C.Not to impose discriminatory taxes or charges with regard to the land or activities within the area.

D.To take all necessary measures to protect and prevent harassment of or harm to any person entering the area under this annex.

E.To permit with the minimum of formality, uniformed officers of the Israeli forces, access to the area for the purpose of investigating crime or dealing with other incidents solely involving the land-users, their invitees or employees.

3.Recognising Jordanian sovereignty over the area, Israel undertakes:

A.Not to carry out or allow to be carried out in the area activities prejudicial to the peace or security of Jordan.

B.Not to allow any person entering the area under this annex to carry weapons of any kind in the area; unless authorised.

C.By the licencing authorities in Jordan after being processed by the liaison committee refereed to in Article 8 of this Annex.

D.Not to allow the dumping of wastes from outside the area into the area.

4.A.Subject to this annex, Jordanian law will apply to this area.

B.Israeli law applying to the extra territorial activities of Israelis may be applied to Israelis and their activities in the area, and Israel may take measures in the area to enforce such laws.

C. Jordan will not apply its criminal laws to activities in the area which involve only Israeli nationals.

5.In the event of any joint projects to be agreed and developed by the parties in the area the terms of this Annex may be altered for the purpose of the joint project by agreement between the parties at any time.

6.Without prejudice to private rights of use of land within the area, this Annex will remain in force for 25 years, and shall be renewed automatically for the same periods, unless one year prior notice of termination is given by either Party, in which case, at the request of either party, consultations shall be entered into.

7.The acquisition of the land in the area by persons who are not Israeli citizens shall take place only with the prior approval of Jordan.

8.A Jordanian-Israeli Liaison Committee is hereby established in order to deal with all matters arising under this annex.

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Comments

Smart move by Jordan. Let the Israelis work hard for 25 yrs & build 30+ beautiful rich farms & then just take it all away!

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