Jordan announced on Sunday that it will not renew annexes in its 1994 peace treaty with Israel that gave Israel continued control of the Jordanian territories of al-Baqoura and al-Ghamr.

The so-called Wadi Araba agreement normalized relations between the two countries, despite there being no restoration of Palestinian rights or an end to Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

Al-Baqoura, an area in northwest Jordan where the Yarmouk and Jordan rivers meet, and al-Ghamr, an area south of the Dead Sea, were leased to Israel for 25 years.

The two areas, amounting to just a few square miles are farmed or used by Israelis. However, the treaty recognized that the areas would remain “under Jordan’s sovereignty with Israeli private land ownership rights and property interests.”

The lease ends in October 2019 and under the terms of the treaty would renew automatically “unless one year prior notice of termination is given by either party, in which case, at the request of either party, consultations shall be entered into.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated that Israel will “negotiate” renewing the agreement with Jordan.

Netanyahu added that Israel’s peace deals with Jordan and Egypt are “anchors of regional stability.” Cutting off water supplies to Jordan is not what Israel wants.

Jordanian foreign minister Ayman Safadi insisted however that Amman would not renegotiate the annexes. “Our decision to terminate the al-Baqoura and al-Ghamr provisions from the peace treaty stems from our vigilance to do all that is necessary for Jordan and Jordanians.”

Israeli agricultural minister Uri Ariel reportedly threatened to reduce Israel’s water supply to Jordan if King Abdullah does not reverse his decision. Ariel called Jordan’s decision a “provocation.”

The Zionist minister warned that the supply of water to the Jordanian capital Amman could be cut from four days per week to just two days of water supply.

Not renewing the annexes over small territories may be a way for Jordanian authorities to appease public opinion at a relatively small cost. 

The decision may encourage Jordan to cancel its unpopular deal to purchase billions of dollars of gas from Israel.

Jordan’s decision not to renew the leases has been broadly welcomed by the Jordanian public and politicians, but the peace treaty with Israel itself remains deeply unpopular and there have been constant calls, including from lawmakers, to cancel it altogether.

Electronic Intifada Network / ABC Flash Point Annexation News 2018.

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