Jordan and Egypt are currently the only two Arab countries that have peace accords with the State of Israel. Under a 1994 agreement, Israel leased about 405 hectares of agricultural farmland from the Kingdom of Jordan. Today, pressure on the Jordanian government from civil and political groups are calling for the end of the land lease. 85 members of Jordanian parliament petitioned the King to intervene in order to not renew the lease agreement.
Socio-economic issues plaguing the residents of Jordan have driven protests against price increases, income tax reform and official corruption. Today, the unemployment rate stands at about 20% with a high rate of poverty. Public sentiment of Israel amongst the Jordanian public is mostly negative due to the large population of descendants of displaced Palestinian refugees residing there. Israel, however, hopes to renegotiate the terms of the agreement with the Jordanian government.
Despite the public sentiment, Jordan and Israel have a long history of cross-border cooperation. Although King Hussein and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin proclaimed an end of war between the two states in 1994, both countries maintained secret contact and mutually beneficial agreements since Israeli independence. Cooperative measures include fighting pollution in the Red Sea, security arrangements and sharing of agriculture and water technologies.
The Syrian Refugee Crisis
A large strain on already scarce Jordanian resources is a direct effect of the Syrian refugee crisis. There is an increased need for consumable water, as an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees have filtered in to the country as a result of their civil war.
The country of Jordan has one of the lowest levels of water resource availability per capita, and the scarcity is projected to grow over the next two decades when precipitation becomes more uncertain and variable. Increasing the water supply has proven problematic for Jordan, and they have begun to tap in to non-renewable water resources from deep-water aquifers.