Sea of Galilee
Sea of GalileeKobi Finkler

Amid the tensions between Israel and Jordan over lands leased to Israel as part of the peace treaty between the countries, the kingdom is seeking an increase in the water allocation that Israel transfers to it annually, Hadashot TV reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, a delegation of senior officials from Jordan arrived in Israel on Monday and visited the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) to request an additional allocation of water, as stipulated in the peace agreement, due to the severe drought in Jordan.

Last month, King Abdullah II of Jordan announced that he had decided not to extend the leases to Israel of lands in Naharayim and Tzofar. Under the 1994 peace treaty between the countries, those areas were recognized to be under Jordanian sovereignty but the treaty gave Israel special provisions to use the land and allow Israelis free access.

The treaty stipulated that the deal would be automatically renewed unless either of the parties notified the other a year before expiry that it wished to terminate the agreement.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later said that while he acknowledges Jordan’s right not to extend the lease, his government will open negotiations with the kingdom to secure an extension of the lease, which is slated to end in October 2019.

Earlier this month, the Jordanian government acknowledged it had received the Israeli request to start negotiations on the issue but did not say when the discussions would begin.

Jordan’s Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi, made clear recently that the kingdom’s commitment to uphold the peace treaty with Israel was not in question despite its decision to end the lease of the lands in Naharayim and Tzofar.