Israeli lease of Jordanian land to expire today

Today, the Israeli lease of Jordan’s Al-Baqura and Al-Ghamr territories ends. Arranged under a bilateral peace deal, the lease gave

Israel Land Lease

AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

Today, the Israeli lease of Jordan’s Al-Baqura and Al-Ghamr territories ends.

Arranged under a bilateral peace deal, the lease gave Israelis rights for ownership and free travel. This enabled Israelis to attract tourism and cultivate crops, which they have exported to European and US markets. In exchange, Jordan received 55 million cubic metres of much needed water from Israel each year.

Though ending the lease does not terminate the peace deal, it may lead Israel to become uninterested in upholding the agreement’s other aspects. Even though Amman just last year asked Jerusalem to almost double the amount of water it supplies, the peace treaty remains fairly unpopular among Jordanians. Many see Israel as not facilitating Jordan’s right to manage the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and were angered by the shooting of two Jordanians by a security guard at an Israeli embassy in 2017.

Though disappointed by Amman’s decision, Jerusalem has recognised the kingdom’s right to terminate the lease. Given the Jordanians’ unfamiliarity with the farming of these lands, Jordan is allowing local firms to arrange deals with farmers or Israeli businesses.

Expect the two nations’ relationship to further cool, but do not expect a break-down of the treaty in the medium term.