The bilateral talks between Israel and Jordan, initiated at the Madrid Conference, continued for almost two years in Washington until the signing of the Israeli-Jordanian Common Agenda on September 14, 1993. The Common Agenda constituted the blueprint for the peace treaty, comprising the following components: security, water, refugees and displaced persons, borders and territorial matters.
The first public meeting between King Hussein and Prime Minister Rabin took place in Washington, on July 25, 1994. Out of this meeting emerged The Washington Declaration, signed by Prime Minister Rabin and King Hussein, with President Clinton serving as a witness.
The major achievements of the Washington Declaration were a series of agreements and concrete steps symbolizing the new era:
The state of belligerency between Jordan and Israel was terminated. Both states agreed to seek a just, lasting and comprehensive peace based on UN Resolutions 242 and 338. Israel will respect the special role of the Hashemite Kingdom over Muslim holy shrines in Jerusalem.
(Editor's Note: Here is Article 9 of the Treaty; the section about the Muslim holy shrines:
PLACES OF HISTORICAL AND RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE
1.Each party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance.
2.In this regard, in accordance with the Washington Declaration, Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem. When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.
3.The Parties will act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions, with the aim of working towards religious understanding, moral commitment, freedom of religious worship, and tolerance and peace.)
Concrete steps included the establishment of direct telephone links, joint electricity grids, new border crossings, free access to third country tourists, and cooperation between the police forces in combating crime, with special emphasis on drug smuggling. It was also decided to continue negotiations on bilateral economic cooperation and abolishing economic boycotts, as well as on the opening of an international air corridor between the two countries.
The first meeting in the region of the Israeli and Jordanian bilateral delegations took place on July 18-19, 1994 at Ein Avrona, located in the boundary area north of Aqaba and Eilat. The parties agreed to hold talks on a continuous basis, alternately on the Israeli and Jordanian sides of the border. These talks culminated in the signing of a Treaty of Peace between Israel and Jordan on October 26, 1994.
With the ratification of the peace treaty, full diplomatic relations were established between Israel and Jordan on November 27, 1994. Since that time, relations between Israel and Jordan have been steadily progressing. The Jordanian parliament's action in August 1995 to rescind its adherence to the Arab boycott on Israel, as well as the regional economic conference in Amman in November 1995, served as significant positive indicators for the future.
The open border crossings between the two countries have facilitated the normalization of relations. Joint business ventures are being consistently initiated and the free movement of businessmen, by both land and air, has created an atmosphere of cooperation and open communication. Tourism between the two countries has been on the rise.
The basis for the implementation of the peace treaty with Jordan was set with the 15 bilateral agreements which have since been signed and ratified. These agreements cover the following areas: Environmental Protection, Commerce and Trade, Transportation, Air Transport, Water, Agriculture, Combating Crime and Illicit Drugs, Communications and Mail, Science and Culture, Education, Health, Borders, The Eilat-Aqaba Region, Tourism and Energy. These treaties are to serve as the foundation of the peaceful, normal relationship between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom.
These are some of the many highlights of activity in each area:
Commerce and Trade: Regular meetings are held by the two sides in an effort to facilitate the smooth flow of goods between the two countries. In the recent meeting of the Ministers of Trade, Israel agreed to expand the list of items imported from Jordan that benefit from customs reductions.
Transportation: Regular public transport lines operate between major Israeli and Jordanian cities. In addition, passenger cars are now able to travel between the two countries.
Air Transport: Since April 1996 there has been regularly scheduled air service between Amman and Tel Aviv. Currently, each of the respective national airlines operates six weekly flights between the two cities. In January 1997, service was commenced between Haifa and Amman as well, with two weekly flights planned.
Communications and Mail: Normal telephone and mail service exists between Israel and Jordan.
Eilat-Aqaba Region: The two cities that border on the Red Sea continue to develop strong regional cooperation. Delegations from the two cities meet regularly. An agreement has been reached which allows small boat crossings in the Gulf of Eilat. Discussions are being held to facilitate expedited border crossings for residents of the two cities. Cultural events have been arranged jointly as a means of further strengthening the ties.
Visits: Visits at the ministerial level have become a relatively normal events. Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Weizman and Foreign Minister Levy have visited Jordan in recent months. Jordanian King Hussein and Prime Minister Kabariti both visited Israel for high level meetings in an effort to assist in the talks with the Palestinian Authority.
Trilateral Israel-Jordan-US Economic Committee
A Trilateral Israel-Jordan-US Economic Committee was established at the October 1993 White House meeting between President Clinton, Crown Prince Hassan and Foreign Minister Peres to discuss economic cooperation and development. This forum first convened in Washington D.C. on November 30, 1993, and then periodically in the region. Sub-groups were established to discuss specific issues, such as: trade, finance and banking; Jordan Valley cooperative projects; and civil aviation. The outcome of these talks have been incorporated in the Peace Treaty between Israel and Jordan.
The convening of the fifth meeting of the Trilateral Economic Committee at the Dead Sea Spa Hotel in Jordan on July 20-21, 1994 was the occasion for the first public meeting of Israeli and Jordanian leaders in the region -- Jordanian Prime Minister Majali and Israeli Foreign Minister Peres.