Jordan’s king visits Naharayim enclave after Israelis clear out
search

Jordan’s king visits Naharayim enclave after Israelis clear out

Day after termination of annexes in peace accord that allowed Israeli farmers access to border territory, Abdullah II says kingdom’s sovereignty ‘is above all else’

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

  • Jordan’s King Abdullah II, second right, tours the Baqura enclave formerly leased by Israel with Crown Prince Hussein and military officers, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019.  (Yousef Allan/Jordanian Royal Court via AP)
    Jordan’s King Abdullah II, second right, tours the Baqura enclave formerly leased by Israel with Crown Prince Hussein and military officers, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. (Yousef Allan/Jordanian Royal Court via AP)
  • Jordan’s King Abdullah II, third right, prays during a tour of the Baqura enclave formerly leased by Israel, with Crown Prince Hussein, fourth right, and military officers, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. (Yousef Allan/Jordanian Royal Court via AP)
    Jordan’s King Abdullah II, third right, prays during a tour of the Baqura enclave formerly leased by Israel, with Crown Prince Hussein, fourth right, and military officers, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. (Yousef Allan/Jordanian Royal Court via AP)
  • Jordan’s King Abdullah II, second right, tours an enclave formerly leased by Israel with Crown Prince Hussein and military officers, November 11, 2019. (Yousef Allan/Jordanian Royal Court via AP)
    Jordan’s King Abdullah II, second right, tours an enclave formerly leased by Israel with Crown Prince Hussein and military officers, November 11, 2019. (Yousef Allan/Jordanian Royal Court via AP)
  • Jordan’s King Abdullah II, third right, prays during a tour of the Baqura enclave formerly leased by Israel, with Crown Prince Hussein, fourth right, and military officers, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019.  (Yousef Allan/Jordanian Royal Court via AP)
    Jordan’s King Abdullah II, third right, prays during a tour of the Baqura enclave formerly leased by Israel, with Crown Prince Hussein, fourth right, and military officers, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. (Yousef Allan/Jordanian Royal Court via AP)
  • Jordan’s King Abdullah II, right, prays during a tour of the Baqura enclave formerly leased by Israel, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. (Yousef Allan/Jordanian Royal Court via AP)
    Jordan’s King Abdullah II, right, prays during a tour of the Baqura enclave formerly leased by Israel, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. (Yousef Allan/Jordanian Royal Court via AP)

Jordanian King Abdullah II and Crown Prince Hussein visited and prayed at the northern Naharayim enclave on Monday, a day after Israelis cleared out from the territory.

The Jordanian royals made the trip a day after annexes in the landmark 1994 Jordan-Israel peace agreement — which had created special arrangements for Israeli farmers and their employees to work lands in Naharayim and the southern Tzofar enclave — were terminated.

For some 25 years, Jordan and Israel had implemented the annexes of the peace deal regarding Naharayim and Tzofar, which are sovereign Jordanian territories. In late 2018, however, Jordanian officials informed their Israeli counterparts of the kingdom’s intention to end them.

Following his arrival in Naharayim, Abdullah tweeted: “Jordan’s sovereignty over its land is above all else.”

Abdullah and Hussein were joined in the border region by senior Jordanian military officials including Yousef Huneiti, the head of Jordan’s army.

The monarch also received a briefing from a military commander about “the historical, geographical and strategic importance of the area,” the state-run Petra news agency reported.

Later on Monday, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said that Jordan had made an offer to Israel to purchase lands privately owned by Israelis in Naharayim, but said the Jewish state turned it down.

“During the consultations with Israel, we offered to buy the land, if they wish to sell it. They said they do not want to sell it. Therefore, there was no sale,” he told a press conference at the headquarters of the Jordanian Foreign Ministry in Amman.

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry has said the Hashemite Kingdom will respect private property rights of Israelis in Naharayim.

A picture taken from the Israeli side of the border shows Jordanian soldiers raising the national flag ahead of a ceremony at the Jordan Valley site of Naharayim, November 10, 2019. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

According to the ministry, Israelis, who prove they own property in Naharayim, will be allowed to enter the enclave, but will be required to cross into Jordan through one of its major border crossings.

The ministry, however, has not clarified whether Israelis who own property there would be permitted to work their land.

Under the now-terminated annexes, farmers had been able to access their lands without passing through a major border crossing and obtaining a formal visa.

Safadi also said Jordan was still committed to its peace treaty with Israel.

“We are committed to the peace agreement,” he said, noting that it was enshrined in Jordanian law. “Peace is a strategic Arab choice. Palestine, Jordan all Arab and Islamic states have repeatedly announced that they want a permanent and comprehensive peace, which is acceptable to the people.”

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi speaks during a joint press conference at the Foreign Ministry in the Jordanian capital Amman on May 14, 2017 (AFP/Khalil Mazraawi)

Jordan is one of two Arab states which have formal peace treaties and diplomatic relations with Israel.

While security ties between the two countries have flourished, political relations have soured over a number of issues including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge in September to annex the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, if he is given another term in office.

Jordan has long supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which would include the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

read more:
comments