Twenty five years after the signing of the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty, Israeli control over the Naharayim enclave has ended, and control of the area returned to Jordan on Saturday.
The final Israeli tour of the area took place Saturday, following failed diplomatic attempts to extend the clause of the treaty that gave Israel control of the enclave for 25 years.
At 4:30 P.M. the gate to the enclave was closed, and control returned to Jordan.
Under the terms of the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty, the enclaves have been allowed to remain under Israeli control, but Jordan was given the option under the treaty to assume full control of both enclaves after 25 years. Last year, King Abdullah II of Jordan announced that he would exercise the option.
The Naharayim enclave includes 800 dunams (about 200 acres) of agricultural land, which have been worked by the Kibbutzim in the area for 70 years. The Naharayim enclave is also an area of importance to the tourism industry.
The Tzofar enclave, south of the Dead Sea, consists of 4,500 dunams of land of which about 1,100 dunams have been used for agricultural purposes by Israeli farmers, mostly to grow peppers.
Jordan's decision to reclaim control of the enclaves came amid anti-government protests against the Jordanian leadership based on economic and diplomatic issues, including the issue of the enclaves.
- Jordanians now see Israel as an implacable enemy, despite 25 years of peace
- 25 years since Israel-Jordan peace, security cooperation flourishes but people kept apart
- Amman denies Israeli report it may delay return of farming enclave to Jordanian control
Dozens of members of parliament signed a petition that calling on the government not to extend Israeli control of the enclaves. Trade unions, which influence public opinion in Jordan, also joined in pressuring the government against extending Israeli control.
King Abdullah's announcement came as a surprise to the Israeli administration.