Jordan moves to end deal for land farmed by Israelis

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Nov. 10 (UPI) — Jordanian soldiers closed off the entrance to farming land within its borders that had been used by Israel for more than two decades as a deal to cultivate the land comes to an end.

The land, called the “Isle of Peace,” was part of the 1994 peace agreement where Jordan leased the land for Israeli farmers for 25 years. The farmland was blocked at the Naharayim entrance near the Sea of Galilee but remained open in the Arava region Saturday.

Under the peace agreement, Jordan allowed Israel to retain use of the land. Israel had expected to lease to be renewed, but Jordan’s King Abdullah told the country last year that it planned to take over the land.

In a statement Sunday, Abdullah mentioned support for the Palestinians and a home state for them.

“We have applied full Jordanian sovereignty over the Tzofar and Naharyaim areas,” King Abdullah said. “Jordan has paid a heavy price for our stance throughout history. We will continue to support the Palestinians until their state is established.”

Jordan, which is one of two Arab countries to have signed peace treaties with Israel, had taken a dim view of Israel’s control over Jerusalem and its lack of effort to work out a peace deal with the Palestinians.

A meeting between Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat last week failed to end the stalemate between the two countries.