Island of Peace

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The Island of Peace is an area which is under Jordan's sovereignty with Israeli private land ownership rights and property interests.[1] The park is at the confluence of the Jordan River and Yarmouk River.[2] Pinhas Rutenberg's Naharayim hydroelectric power station can be seen from here.

Island of Peace, Naharayim

History[edit]

Land along the Jordan River's alluvial slopes and floor bed was under Jewish ownership before the establishment of the State of Israel.[3] In 1927, Pinchas Rutenberg, founder of the Palestine Electric Company, signed an agreement with King Abdullah I of Jordan to build a hydroelectric power station. The canals and dams built for this purpose created a man-made island. The plant began supplying electricity in 1932. Operations were shut down in the wake of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.[4]

In 1994, Israel ceded the area to Jordan as part of the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace. Jordan agreed to lease it back so the Israeli farmers from Kibbutz Ashdot Ya'acov could continue to cultivate the land.[2] Farming continues under a 25-year, automatically renewable lease. A gate was established to enable Israeli tourists to visit the park without a visa or passport, on presentation of their identity cards to the Jordanian guards at the border crossing.[3]

1997 massacre[edit]

Naharayim Memorial

On March 13, 1997, the AMIT Fuerst (Fürst) Zionist religious junior high school from Beit Shemesh was on a class trip to the Jordan Valley, and Island of Peace. Jordanian soldier Ahmed Daqamseh opened fire at the schoolchildren, killing seven girls aged 13 or 14 and badly wounding six others. King Hussein of Jordan came to Beit Shemesh to extend his condolences and ask forgiveness in the name of his country, a step which was seen as both touching and courageous.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b The beautiful and tragic story of Naharayim, Jerusalem Post
  3. ^ a b Jordan River Valley Peace Park
  4. ^ Jordan River Peace Park
  5. ^ "With condolence visit to Israel, King Hussein spurs talks", CNN, March 16, 1997. Accessed July 22, 2007. "King Hussein of Jordan knelt in mourning Sunday with the families of seven Israeli schoolgirls gunned down last week by a Jordanian soldier, saying they were all 'members of one family.'"

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°38′26″N 35°34′0″E / 32.64056°N 35.56667°E / 32.64056; 35.56667