JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jordan’s King Abdullah told Israel he has decided to not renew parts of their 1994 peace treaty.
Abdullah said Sunday he would not renew two of the treaty’s annexes, that allowed Israel to lease two border areas from the Jordanians. Israel’s 25-year lease on the areas – Baqura and Ghamr – is up next year.
“Baqoura and Ghumar have always been our top priority & our decision is to terminate the Baqoura and Ghumar annexes from the peace treaty out of our keenness to take all decisions that would serve Jordan and Jordanians,” Abdullah tweeted.
The deadline for renewing the annexes is later this week.
Baqura, or Naharayim in Hebrew, is located south of the Sea of Galilee in Israel’s north, and Ghumar, or Zofar in Hebrew, is located south of the Dead Sea, in Israel’s south. Both are located on the border of Jordan and Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel intends to negotiate with Jordan over extending the lease.
On Friday, protesters in Amman called on the king to cancel the lease and reclaim sovereignty over the territories. Others called on Jordan to cancel the entire peace treaty with Israel.
The peace deal was reached between Abdullah’s father, King Hussein, and Yitzhak Rabin, then Israeli prime minister. It is very unpopular in Jordan, which is home to a large Palestinian population. Jordanians also claim that Israel has failed to live up to water-sharing agreements, the Washington Post reported.