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Jordan restores Baqura and Al Ghamr

Nov 11,2019 - Last updated at Nov 11,2019

The growing tension between Jordan and Israel has reached an unprecedented level. Neither Jordan nor Israel publicly celebrated the 25th anniversary of the peace treaty signed on October 26, 1994, although Israeli senior officials have long argued that intelligence cooperation and the peace treaty with Jordan were key foreign policy achievements.

His Majesty King Abdullah made it perfectly clear that his country would restore two areas, Baqura and Al Ghamr, to full Jordanian sovereignty, thus cancelling two annexes in the peace treaty. Israel was not happy with the Jordanian decision, but failed to convince Jordan to change course.

Interestingly, bilateral relations between Amman and Tel Aviv have been strained over the course of the last decade. There is a wide perception in Jordan that Israel never internalised the meaning of having peace with Jordan. To be sure, it is impossible to decouple the Israeli-Jordanian bilateral ties from the deadlock on the Palestinian-Israeli track. Put differently, Israel cannot enjoy normal relations with Jordan while denying the Palestinians their basic right to self-determination. Israel never left a stone unturned to undermine Jordan's position in Jerusalem, in a stark violation of the spirit of the peace treaty.

Perhaps, the way Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu handled the killing of two Jordanian citizens by a security officer at the embassy of Israel in Amman was outrageous. The heroic reception that the killer enjoyed only underscored the impression that Israel is insensitive when it comes to Jordan and Jordanians.

Amid this psychological and political atmosphere, Jordan announced its decision to end the two annexes of the peace treaty. In fact, since the peace treaty was signed some 25 years ago, peace has never seemed so remote. The model of "warm" peace that both His Majesty the late King Hussein and Yitzhak Rabin thought of proved to be short-lived.

Unfortunately, Israel is driven by an aggressive and expansionist foreign policy. Successive governments have meticulously and vigorously worked to undermine the prospects of the two-state solution. It is worth pointing out that Jordan viewed its peace treaty with Israel within the context of wider comprehensive peace. In a letter written by King Hussein to Netanyahu in 1997, the King expressed his disappointment in Netanyahu's ill-advised policies and emphasised that his quest and dreams are all about a lasting and comprehensive peace.

Israel's attempt to convince Jordan to extend the two annexes did not work. It was almost impossible for Jordan to agree to the Israeli request while Israel refused to work with Jordan on a number of issues, such as the Red-Dead Water Conveyance Project. Besides, the aggressive Israeli policies in Jerusalem posed a challenge to Jordan. For these reasons, Jordan resorted to its rights enshrined in the peace treaty.

In brief, Jordan did the right thing, as occupation should not be rewarded in any shape or form. The euphoria in Jordan is obvious, as restoring these two areas is widely seen as a remarkable achievement.

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