Jordan says peace treaty with Israel unaffected by scrapping land deals

Safadi said Jordan would respect its obligations toward Israelis in the peace treaty that demarcated borders for the first time since the creation of Israel in 1948. (REUTERS)
Updated 27 October 2018
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Jordan says peace treaty with Israel unaffected by scrapping land deals

  • Under the peace treaty, the deal would be automatically renewed unless either of the parties notified the other a year before expiry that it wished to terminate the agreement

AMMAN: Jordan said its commitment to uphold a peace treaty with Israel was not in question despite ending a 25-year special regime that allows its neighbor to use two parcels of land along its borders under its sovereignty.
Jordan formally notified Israel on Sunday it would not renew the deal over Baquora, where the Yarmouk River flows into the Jordan River, and in the Ghumar area in the southern Wadi Araba desert, where Israeli farmers have large plantations.
King Abdullah, who stressed the territories were Jordanian lands and would remain so, said the move was made in the “national interest” during a period of regional turmoil.
Under the peace treaty, the two areas were recognized to be under Jordanian sovereignty but Israel was given special provisions to use the land and allow Israelis free access, while in the Baquora area Israeli private property rights were respected.
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the deal, which was signed in November 1994, had been conceived as a temporary arrangement from the start.
“That is why there was a time cap on it ... We acted within the provisions of the peace treaty. This is an indication of our commitment to the peace treaty. There has never been a question of our solid commitment to the treaty,” said Safadi.
Jordan is one of only two Arab states that has a peace treaty with Israel and the two countries have a long history of close security ties. But the treaty is unpopular and pro-Palestinian sentiment is widespread in Jordan.
Safadi said the kingdom had contemplated the move for a while before the Nov. 10 deadline.
Under the peace treaty, the deal would be automatically renewed unless either of the parties notified the other a year before expiry that it wished to terminate the agreement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged Jordan’s move and said his country sought to enter negotiations on the possibility of extending the arrangement.
The kingdom was now awaiting Israel invoking a provision in the treaty to hold consultations after giving notice before the deadline, Safadi said.
“There will be no negotiations over sovereignty. But we will fulfil our obligation to engage in consultations to implement the termination ...,” Safadi added.
The king’s move was hailed by parliamentarians who have been vocal against a renewal they say was humiliating and perpetuates Israeli “occupation” of Jordanian territory.
Safadi said Jordan would respect its obligations toward Israelis in the peace treaty that demarcated borders for the first time since the creation of Israel in 1948.
“We will fulfil our legal commitments in a manner that recognize whatever rights there are for Israel, particularly the property rights. We will respect these rights in accordance with Jordanian laws that respects private property of non-Jordanians,” Safadi added.


Daesh Syria attack kills 16, including 4 US soldiers

Updated 8 min 24 sec ago
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Daesh Syria attack kills 16, including 4 US soldiers

  • Attack comes after Trump vowed to pull out US troops after defeating Daesh

BEIRUT: A blast struck near a US-led coalition patrol in Syria’s northern city of Manbij on Wednesday killing 16 people including four Americans.

A US official told Reuters that the number of American casualties had risen to four, while other reports put the number at three.

The US-led international coalition against Daesh confirmed there had been casualties but did not say how many.

"U.S. service members were killed during an explosion while conducting a routine patrol in Syria today. We are still gathering information and will share additional details at a later time," it said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said 16 people were killed including nine civilians and others were wounded in the blast.

A Daesh-affiliated website said an attacker with an explosive vest had struck a foreign military patrol in a suicide attack.

The attack come after Donald Trump last month made a surprise announcement that he would withdraw all 2,000 US troops from Syria after concluding Daesh had been defeated there.

The announcement rattled allies in the region and top US officials, including Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis who quit.
Manbij has been held by US-backed fighters allied to the Kurdish YPG militia since they took it from Daesh in 2016. It is located near areas held by Russian-backed Syrian government forces and by anti-Assad fighters backed by Turkey.
One witness told Reuters there was a “heavy” presence of military aircraft over Manbij following the blast, which took place near a vegetable market.