Jordan and Israel agree to water deals; more West Bank trade | Business and Economic News
Israel and Jordan reached an agreement on Thursday to allow the Jewish state to sell unprecedented amounts of water to the kingdom while significantly increasing Jordan’s exports to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
After years of tension under the leadership of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the agreement reached during the meeting between the two foreign ministers marked an improvement in relations with the new Israeli government.
Since a peace agreement was reached in 1994, water cooperation has been a core issue between Israel and Jordan, but rifts have appeared in relations between neighboring countries in recent years.
At a meeting inside the Jordanian border, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and his Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi approved Israel’s sale of 50 million cubic meters to its neighbors Of water.
An Israeli official stated that this would effectively double the supply that year—from May 2021 to May 2022—because about 50 million cubic meters have already been sold or supplied to Jordan. A Jordanian official said that in accordance with the 1994 peace treaty, Israel provides 30 million cubic meters of water to the country every year.
Statements from the two governments confirmed the transaction and stated that the final details of the transaction will be completed in the next few days.
Gidon Bromberg, the Israeli director of EcoPeace Middle East, a leading regional water cooperation organization with operations in Israel, the West Bank and Jordan, described the water sale as “the largest water sale ever between the two countries.”
“[It] It’s a real “watershed” event,” Bromberg said.
“It represents an understanding of common interests and how countries in the region need to cooperate if we are to survive the huge challenges facing water resources and national security. Climate crisis gift. “
Jordan is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world. Experts say this country with a population of 10 million has been struggling to deal with one of the worst droughts in its history.
Israel is also facing water pressure and is a world leader in seawater desalination.
In terms of Palestinian trade, the two sides confirmed that Jordan’s potential export ceiling to the West Bank, a territory occupied by Israel since 1967, will increase from approximately US$160 million to US$700 million per year.
The highest envoy of Jordan said in a statement that he and Rapide also discussed the path to “just and comprehensive peace” between Israel and the Palestinians.
“The Kingdom of Jordan is an important neighbor and partner,” Rapide said. “For the benefit of the two countries, we will expand economic cooperation.”
Jordan said that the technical team will finalize the details in the next few days, and Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian officials will negotiate on the implementation of export caps.
At the same time, Israeli media reported on Thursday that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett secretly visited Jordan last week and met with King Abdullah II at his palace in Amman.
According to reports, this is the first meeting between the King and the Prime Minister of Israel in more than five years.
According to Ha’aretz, Palestinian sources said that the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas met with King Abdullah after meeting with Bennett.
Bilateral relations under Netanyahu’s leadership became strained Prohibit The use of Jordanian airspace earlier this year hindered his first trip to the United Arab Emirates.
Netanyahu is replace Published by Bennett last month, his coalition stated that warming up relations with Jordan is a foreign policy priority.
Israel and Jordan achieved peace in 1994 and maintained close security relations, but in recent years, due to Palestinian tensions in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Israel’s expansion of Jewish settlements on war-torn land, and a long peace process.
Jordan and Palestine are firmly opposed Trump Administration’s Middle East Plan, Which will allow Israel to annex a third of the occupied West Bank. Israel seized East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 war, and the Palestinians wanted these territories to become part of their future country.
The news was released a few days before King Abdullah II of Jordan visited the White House. The Biden administration called on all parties to take measures to lay the foundation for the resumption of possible peace talks.