In mid 1994, after years of covert peace negotiations, then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin relayed a message to King Hussein of Jordan, saying that in the post-Oslo Accords climate, if the Hashemite Kingdom procrastinated any longer on a peace treaty with Israel, it may find itself devoid of any significant role in regional politics.
King Hussein then conferred on the matter with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his Syrian counterpart. The former encouraged him to strike peace with Israel and the latter sanctioned the talks, but recommended Jordan holds off on any treaty. US President Bill Clinton, however, pressured the king to negotiate a peace agreement, offering to erase Jordan's debts to the United States in return.
The summer of 1994 saw Israeli and Jordanian negotiation teams hold open peace talks, which culminated in the July 25 signing of the Washington Declaration on the White House lawn. The declaration officially ended the state of war between Israel and Jordan, enabling the two nations to embark on expeditious peace talks.
The signing ceremony (Photo: Zoom 77)
The subsequent agreement regulated the issues of borders, instated full diplomatic relations, ushered new airways and seaways between Israel and Jordan and banned hostile propaganda on both sides. The treaty also stipulated both countries would fight and prevent terror attacks and activities and regulated water rights concerning the Yarmouk River – the Jordan River's largest tributary.
Israel and Jordan officially singed a peace treaty on October 26, 1994, at a ceremony held in the newly inaugurated border crossing point north of Eilat. US President Bill Clinton witnessed the accord as the guest of honor.
The Israeli public expressed overwhelming support for the Israeli-Jordanian peace process. Egypt welcomed the new accord and Syria ignored it. Hizbullah operatives based in Lebanon expressed their objection to the treaty by firing mortar shells at northern Israel minutes before the signing ceremony.
- To read the full text of the accord click here