Israel likely to lose leased land to Jordan, senior source says

“It is known in Jerusalem that the situation is difficult, almost impossible, but [we] are trying to exhaust all negotiation options,” a senior diplomatic source said.
By Yona Schnitzer • TPS 
Israel is in talks with Jordan over the Hashemite Kingdom’s  recent decision to reclaim land leased by Israel in the Island of Peace in Naharayim in the Jordan Valley and the Tzofar enclave in the Arava, a senior Israeli diplomatic source confirmed Sunday.

“Israel has petitioned Jordan to open a discussion regarding the renewing of the lease of Tzofar and Naharayim,” said the source, “It is known in Jerusalem that the situation is difficult, almost impossible, but [we] are trying to exhaust all negotiation options,” he added.

On October 21st, Jordan’s King Abdullah II announced that his country would not be renewing the lease signed with Israel in 1994, as part of the peace treaty between the two countries. The lease is set to expire next year.

“Our decision is to terminate the Baquoura [Naharayim] and Ghamar [Tzofar] annexes from the [1994 Jordan-Israel] peace treaty out of our keenness to take all decisions that would serve Jordan and Jordanians,” King Abdullah said at the time, adding that both pieces of land have “always been our top priority.”

Following the announcement, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said: “there is no doubt that the entire peace agreement is an important asset to the two countries.”

A report in the Haaretz daily last week, said that Israel was seeking to advance work on the long-stalled Red Sea-Dead Sea project as leverage to improve relations with Jordan.