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Israeli farmers lament the end of Jordan land deal

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Israeli farmers lament the end of Jordan land deal

By Elana Ringler

 

2019-11-10T115818Z_1_LYNXMPEFA909I_RTROPTP_4_ISRAEL-JORDAN-LAND.JPG

The national flags of Israel and Jordan are seen in an area known as Naharayim in Hebrew and Baquora in Arabic, in the border area between Israel and Jordan, as seen from the Israeli side November 10, 2019. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

 

NAHARAYIM (Reuters) - It has been a bitter harvest for some Israeli farmers on the border with Jordan. On Sunday, a 25-year-old deal between the two countries that has allowed them to cultivate land there formally expires.

 

Under the deal, part of the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty, two territories straddling the border were recognised as under Jordanian sovereignty but with special provisions allowing Israeli farmers to work the land and visitors to tour the Isle of Peace park in the area.

 

But in 2018, Jordan said it did not want to continue the arrangement, in what was widely seen as a sign of increasingly strained diplomatic relations.

 

King Abdullah formally declared on Sunday the end of the 25-year special regime, which most Jordanians saw as a humiliation that perpetuated Israeli "occupation" of Jordanian territory.

 

"I announce the end of the work in the special annex in the two areas Ghumar and Baqoura, in the peace treaty and impose our full sovereignty on every inch of them," the king said in a speech marking the start of a new parliamentary session, drawing applause from parlimentarians and officials.

 

For the Israelis farming the land, the agreement's expiry is a sharp blow.

 

"It was like a punch to the face," said Eli Arazi, 74, a farmer whose kibbutz, or agricultural community, worked one of the land parcels that in Hebrew is called Naharayim and in Arabic, Baqoura.

 

Naharayim, which means "two rivers" in Hebrew, straddles the confluence of the Yarmouk and Jordan rivers. Israelis trace private ownership rights there to the 1920s, when the territory was part of British-mandated Palestine.

 

Arazi said his kibbutz, Ashdot Yaacov Meuhad, had been growing crops there for 70 years, including olives, bananas and avocados.

 

In the 1994 peace treaty, Jordanian sovereignty over the area was confirmed, while Israelis retained private land ownership and special provisions that allow free travel.

 

Jordan will continue to respect the ownership rights of Israelis with property in Naharayim, according to Israeli and Jordanian officials.

 

But without the special provisions, they will now face the hassle of normal border crossings, making their work much more difficult.

 

At the second land parcel, Tzofar, further south, the entire arrangement is now ended, though Israel's Foreign Ministry said: "The government of Jordan will allow Israeli farmers to harvest the crops that were planted before the annex expired."

 

'ONGOING ARGUMENTS'

Jordan is one of only two Arab states that has a peace accord with Israel, and the neighbours have a long history of close security ties. But the treaty is unpopular in Jordan where pro-Palestinian sentiment is widespread.

 

The end of the land deal comes at a low point in Israeli-Jordanian relations, Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel told Reuters: "We are not on a honeymoon but rather in a period of ongoing arguments."

 

Amman was recently rattled by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's promise during campaigning for a September election to annex the Jordan Valley.

 

Over the past few years, the deadlock in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and disputes over a Jerusalem compound, sacred to both Muslims and Jews, have further weighed on relations.

 

Ariel said the Israeli government should have tried earlier to convince Jordan to extend the deal.

 

(Additional reporting by Suleiman al Khalidi in Amman; Editing by Maayan Lubell and Gareth Jones)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-11-11
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4 hours ago, thaibeachlovers said:

They deserve to have as much help as Palestinians get after they are evicted from their land so illegal Israeli settlements can be extended.

why? was that these farmers who evicted Palestinians in 1948th?

 

or are they guilty BECAUSE they are Jews?

 

 

Edited by Matt96
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5 minutes ago, abrahamzvi said:

My question is, why are the poor Palestinian farmers not getting any help when they are evicted from their lands.

this news has nothing to do with 1948th eviction

 

5 minutes ago, abrahamzvi said:

Simple rule: equality for all.

good rule. what about equality for all religions and nationalities in Iran, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordania?

Edited by Matt96
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Standard Israeli behaviour: just take the land! Once, a long long time ago, it might have been 'ours'...

 

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6 hours ago, thaibeachlovers said:

Now he knows how Palestinians that have their land confiscated and olive trees are destroyed to build new illegal settlements on Palestinain land feel.

Quite some israeli's know that feeling since 1948, when over a 700.000 jews had to leave the countries they lived for 2 millenia or longer. The big difference is, these jews got nothing as compensation nor aid, but the palestinians a US$ 1.3 BILLION per year since 1949.

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23 minutes ago, stevenl said:

Why don't you vent your frustrations about Iran in a thread related to that? This is about Israeli farming on Jordanian land, now coming to an end. Not about religious freedom in Qatar.

i did not ask you, I asked abrahamzvi because he spoke about equality.

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