Photo Credit: Basel Awidat / Flash 90
Israeli soldiers close the gate leading to the Island of Peace in Naharayim, November 9, 2019.

Three young Israelis entered Jordanian territory “by accident” on Wednesday via a gate that was inadvertently left open in the former isle of peace, Naharayim, according to a report by Ynet.

It is not clear why the gate was open.

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The trio was returned within a few hours by the Jordanian Army, handing them over to the Israel Defense Forces.

The peace treaty between Israel and Jordan signed in 1994 stated that the tract of land located at the convergence of the Jordan and Yarmuk Rivers — Naharayim — would be transferred to Jordanian sovereignty although Israel would retain ownership rights.

Jews could continue to work the land in the fields of the area, at least until one of the sides decided they could not.

Responding to Mob Pressure, King Abdullah Revokes Parts of Peace Treaty with Israel

On October 21, 2018, however, the Kingdom of Jordan notified the Israeli government that it would revoke the appendices to the peace agreement with Israel relating to Naharayim, including the Isle of Peace and the area of Ghumar in which Moshav Tzofar worked their agricultural fields in the Arava.

On November 9, 2019, the area was handed over to the Kingdom of Jordan.

The areas had ostensibly been leased to Israel for a 25-year-period after which the Hashemite King would have to decide whether or not to renew the leases. And the King chose not to.

Tension Mounting as Israeli Farmers Cross Jordanian Border to Work Their Fields

In the case of the agricultural fields of Moshav Tzofar, the land was legally purchased from Jordan in 1994 but at the end it made no difference once the King decided to take it.

Thirty-one Jewish farmers had cultivated 370 acres of land in the enclave to earn their living, many of them since the birth of the state, for 70 years. Farmers at Kibbutz Ashdot Yaakov cultivated close to 200 acres in the area, until they weren’t allowed to.

It is not clear whether Jordan subsequently repaid Israel for the land the King insisted on taking, nor is it clear whether Israel insisted on payment from Amman. The only thing clear is the damage to the livelihoods of the Jewish farmers who had faithfully tilled the soil.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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