By Abdelraouf Arnaout and Laith Joneidi
Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel on Monday criticized Jordanian King Abdullah’s stated intention to remove two annexes from Jordan’s 1994 peace treaty with Israel.
On Sunday, the king voiced his intention to remove the two annexes -- those pertaining to the Baqoura and Ghamar regions (located near the Jordan River) -- from the 1994 Wadi Araba peace treaty.
"The king's decision not to renew the annexes pertaining to Baqoura and Ghamar is a provocation to Israel,” Ariel was quoted as saying.
“I urge Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu to explain to the king that Jordan needs Israel more than Israel needs Jordan,” he added.
Ariel went on to point out that Israel provides Jordan with significant water supplies, without which, he warned, residents of Amman would enjoy access to water “only two days a week”.
In response to Ariel’s remarks, a senior Jordanian official told Anadolu Agency that the kingdom would not neglect to protect its water resources.
"Jordan-Israel water relations are based on agreements separate from those related to the peace treaty,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“And Jordan is committed to these agreements," he added.
"Jordan has simply exercised its right -- as is stipulated in the treaty -- to cancel the annexes," the official asserted.
Jordan leased the two territories to Israel under Annexes 1/B and 1/C of the 1994 treaty. According to the treaty’s terms, that lease will expire on Oct. 25.
In recent days, the Hashemite Kingdom has been rocked by protest, with demonstrators demanding the return of both territories to Jordanian sovereignty.