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Israel praises 'strategic partner' Jordan in marking peace deal signing ^ | 19:25 25/10/2005

Posted on 10/25/2005 3:23:00 PM PDT by Esther Ruth

Last update - 19:25 25/10/2005

Israel praises 'strategic partner' Jordan in marking peace deal signing

By The Associated Press

On the 11th anniversary of Israel's peace treaty with Jordan, Israel hailed its Arab neighbor Tuesday as its "strategic partner" in Mideast peacemaking.

But Islamists in Jordan again condemned the kingdom, home to many Palestinians, for having made peace with Israel.

"Israel considers Jordan a strategic partner and an important element in efforts to attain peace with neighboring states," the Israeli Embassy said in a statement marking the accord that was signed on Oct. 26, 1994.

It said 2005 marked a "significant stage in deepening political dialogue and bilateral cooperation on all levels," from meetings between top officials to cooperation in the fight against the spread of bird flu.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: israel; jordan; partner; peace
rest of article...

But Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Jamil Abu-Bakr scorned the treaty, saying its anniversary was a "bad omen."

"We're against the treaty because it only bodes well with the interest of the Zionist enemy who wants to control us, but it neither serves Jordan nor the Arab world," he said. "On the contrary, it's against Arab identity, culture and independence."

"The Arab people are against making peace with an entity which usurps Arab land, kills Palestinian people, demolishes their homes, builds a barrier to separate Palestinian communities and refuses to relinquish the lands it had occupied by force 38 years ago," Abu-Bakr told The Associated Press.

A coalition of 13 opposition groups, meanwhile, rebuked the Jordanian government for holding two coordination meetings with Israel last week on bird flu prevention. "This is part of normalization with the Zionist enemy and we condemn it," said the coalition in a statement signed by leftists and Muslim hardline groups vehemently opposed to a peaceful Arab-Israeli settlement.

Jordan, a moderate Arab nation and a key U.S. Arab ally, became the second Arab state after Egypt to sign a peace treaty with Israel.

Jordanian officials were not immediately available for comment Tuesday. But the government has repeatedly said peace with Israel was an "irreversible strategic choice" which allowed the kingdom to regain land seized by Israel and water rights to the Yarmouk and Jordan rivers, plus control over Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem until a Palestinian-Israeli agreement is reached over final status.

The Israeli Embassy statement said two-way trade reached $185 million last year, a 41 percent jump over 2003.

Last month, Jordan's King Abdullah II met Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York last month. Jordan also returned its ambassador to Israel this year after lowering its diplomatic representation in late 2000 to protest Israel's military response to Palestinian violence.

1 posted on 10/25/2005 3:23:01 PM PDT by Esther Ruth
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