King Abdullah II of Jordan announced on Sunday the official termination of annexes under the peace treaty that stipulated leasing part of Jordan's border area to Israel.
"Today, I announce the expiration of the Peace Treaty annexes on Al Ghamr and Baqura and the imposition of our full sovereignty over every inch of those lands," King Abdullah said at the opening of the 4th ordinary session of the 18th parliament.
In 2018, the Jordanian king took a decision to terminate the annexes of Baqoura and Ghumar in the Jordanian Israeli peace treaty, which the two sides signed in 1994.
The annexes on the two areas in the peace treaty stipulated that Jordan and Israel agreed that a special regime would apply to Baqoura and Ghumar on a temporary basis, effective upon the signing of the peace deal, for a period of 25 years ending in October 2019.
The total area leased to Israel was about 7,000 dunums (7 million square metres).
According to the peace treaty, also known as the Wadi Araba Peace Treaty, the annexes also stipulated that: “Without prejudice to private rights of ownership of land within the area, this annex will remain in force for 25 years, and shall be renewed automatically for the same periods, unless one year prior notice of termination is given by either party, in which case, at the request of either party, consultations shall be entered into.”
However, Jordan had already refused to renew the lease for the lands.
"Today is an historic moment for Jordan… It was a very daring and heroic move to make," Read Omari, a media expert, told 7DNews.
"Restoring Jordan's full sovereignty and terminating the lease was a demand by all Jordanians and today everybody is happy about the decision.
"Today's announcement is a win for Jordan's diplomacy and leadership that never gives up on its rights," Omari said.
Fertile agricultural lands
"These are very fertile agricultural lands and of great quality and value for the agricultural sector… We are thrilled to have them back," President of the General Union of Jordanian Farmers, Odeh Rawashdeh said.
"We are very thankful for this move and for the King's determination to impose Jordan's full sovereignty on these areas… These lands are agricultural treasures for us," said Rawashdeh.
"All Jordanians are happy today to restore their lands from the Israelis…This has been a demand that all Jordanians have been calling for and supporting," Mohammad Al Sheikh, a father of two, told 7DNews.
"In spite of all the challenges and the pressure, Jordan has succeeded in restoring its lands and imposing its full sovereignty. This is a great achievement at these critical and delicate times… We are simply happy to see the Jordanian flag raised in the areas," he said.
On social media, thousands of tweets were posted with photos of the newly returned lands, most of which were captioned: “Welcome back to Jordan, Baqoura and Ghumar!”.
The Jordanian armed forces raised the Jordanian flag over Baqoura shortly after the king’s speech and videos of Israelis leaving the area were circulated on social media.