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Will Jordan extend Israeli lease of farmlands?

Israeli farmers will soon be forced to abandon their agricultural lands at Naharayim, in Jordanian territory, at the end of their 25-year leases this month according to a provision of the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel.
A Picture taken from the Israeli side of the border fence in Naharayim also known as Baqura, shows a Jordanian national flag being raised on a military outpost in the Jordan Valley in Northern Israel, on October 22, 2018. - Jordan's King Abdullah II announced on October 21, 2018 that Jordan has notified Israel it wants to reclaim two small plots of territory leased under their 1994 peace deal, but Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he wanted to open negotiations to keep the current arrangement

For the past 25 years, Eli Arazi of Kibbutz Ashdot Yaakov (Meuhad) has been crossing the border between Israel and Jordan almost every day to work his fields in the Naharayim enclave in Jordanian territory. He can do so because of a provision in the 1994 peace agreement between Israel and Jordan that provides some Israeli farmers in the Jordan Valley with the unusual privilege of crossing into the neighboring Arab state without a passport or bureaucracy. Jordanian soldiers at the border open the gate so they can pass into Naharayim with their agricultural equipment to work in their olive, avocado and banana groves and their watermelon patches and cornfields. On Oct. 26, however, 25 years after the signing of the peace accord, it appears the farmers will be forced to abandon the land that they have been working for decades.

In the early 1920s, Pinhas Rutenberg bought land in the Naharayim region from King Abdullah to build a hydroelectric power plant. The mandatory border established in 1922 ran west of this land, effectively making it part of Transjordan, which obtained full independence in 1946. After Israel’s War of Independence (1948) and the ensuing Armistice Agreement (1949) signed on Rhodes, kibbutzim in the region began growing crops in the Naharayim area.

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