Jordan bans Israeli tourists from Naharayim: report

Jordanian soldiers reportedly ban Israelis from the "Island of Peace" following plans to end land agreement with Israel.

Island of Peace (photo credit: Courtesy Travelujah-Holy Land Tours)
Island of Peace
(photo credit: Courtesy Travelujah-Holy Land Tours)
The Foreign Ministry had no immediate response to reports that Jordan blocked Israeli tourists from visiting Naharayim on Saturday.

According to a Channel 12 report, hundreds of Israeli tourists who tried to visit the “Island of Peace” on Saturday were turned away by Jordanian soldiers.

The action follows Jordan’s announcement three months ago that it will not renew its lease allowing Israel  to use land at Naharayim (Baqura) near the Lake Kinneret nor part of Zofar (al Ghamar), some 120 km. north of Eilat.

Under the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace agreement, these two areas “will fall under Jordanian sovereignty with Israeli private land use rights. These rights include unimpeded freedom of entry to, exit from and movement within the area. These areas are not subject to customs or immigration legislation. These rights will remain in force for 25 years and will be renewed automatically for the same period unless either country wishes to terminate the arrangement, in which case consultations will be taken.”

In October, Jordan declared that it wanted to terminate the arrangementand Israel said negotiations on the matter will be held.

Both areas are used by Israel for agricultural purposes. Naharayim is also a tourist site, where in 1997 a terrorist killed seven Israeli girls from Beit Shemesh on a school outing. The terrorist, Ahmed Daqamseh, was sentenced to 20 years in prison and released last year.