Jordan declines renewal of bilateral agricultural land-use agreement with Israel

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Israeli’s will no longer be able to use the Jordanian Baquora and Ghumar areas for farming after today as Jordan refused to renew the 25-year-old deal. Under a 1994 peace treaty, these two areas were recognised as Jordanian but gave Israelis free access and ownership rights in Baquora area.

Most Jordanians are likely to welcome this decision as many see Israel’s use of the areas as exploitation. Recently, Jordanians have been protesting in the streets over the government’s economic measures. Without any natural resources and struck by frequent drought and the loss of access to Syrian roadways, Jordan has seen unemployment reach 18% and Amman become one of the most expensive Arab cities over the last few years.

The Ghumar enclave is a significant agricultural area used by Israelis to farm cash crops exported to international markets. While Israel has not reacted strongly, it plans to lobby Jordan to keep the current land leases intact.

This move by Jordan will likely ease political protests internally. While both countries insist they value their current relationship, this could lead to the annulment of the peace treaty between the two countries.

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