Jordan Bans Israelis from Petra Region

The Jordanian parliament passed a law targeting Israelis interested in Petra region after reports that they are increasingly buying lands around the area.

The law passed on Tuesday bans renting or selling real estate to Israeli citizens in the ancient Petra city as part of amendment to the Petra Development and Tourism Authority law. There are plans to implement similar actions nationwide.

Petra is known to Israel as the Red Rock. It is unclear if the law would affect tourism between the two countries. According to Jordan’s Ministry of Tourism, more than 100,000 Israelis visit the country every year. Israelis are said to be visiting the country since the early 1950s and during the war between the two countries.

The Petra Development and Tourism Authority law is meant to encourage foreign investments in the area around the Petra Archaeological Park, but the amendment advocates defended the new law as a manifestation of “national sovereignty” which is “more important than foreign investments.”

Some lawmakers want to enforce the law in all regions in Jordan and not only in Petra.

The amended law describes Israel as the “enemy” and “the oppressing entity” in reference to its policies towards Palestine.

Tel Aviv has not reacted to the law passed on Tuesday in the Jordanian parliament. The law is not expected to affect diplomatic ties established between the two countries since the signing of a peace agreement in 1994.

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