Israel holding intensive talks with Jordan over Naharayim, Tzofar

If no agreement is reached, the lease will expire on October 25, and Israeli farmers will no longer be able to work the land.

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October 10, 2019 21:05
1 minute read.
Kinneret Galilee

Lake Kinneret, also known as the Sea of Galilee, Israel's main water reservoir. (photo credit: NOAM BEDEIN)

   Israel is holding continuous talks with Jordan to persuade King Abdullah to change his mind about opting out of an annex in the 1994 peace treaty that allows Israel to lease agriculture land in two small enclaves across the border.


Under the peace treaty, Israel was allowed to lease land at Naharayim near the Kinneret, and at Tzofar, about 120 kilometers north of Eilat, for agricultural use. Under the accord, the arrangement would be renewed after 25 years unless one side said a year prior that it wanted to opt out of the deal, which Jordan did last October.
 
If no agreement is reached, the lease will expire on October 25, and Israeli farmers will no longer be able to work the land.
 
One government source said that “intensive” negotiations were under way, and that Israel will retain ownership of its assets on the east side of the border under any circumstances. What is not clear, however, is whether the farmers can continue working their fields.
 
The Jerusalem Post has learned that “attractive offers” are being made to Abdullah to convince him to renew the lease. Abdullah, however, is under intensive domestic pressure from circles inside Jordan opposed to peace with Israel to terminate this arrangement.
The National Security Council is leading the negotiations with the Jordanians on this matter.
 
Army Radio reported on Thursday that the Emek Hayarden Regional Council sent a letter to Abdullah asking him to rethink his decision, urging him not to end “our 70-year relationship with our agricultural land.”
 
Edan Greenbaum, head of the council, asked for a meeting with Abdullah at Naharayim to discuss the matter.


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