Jordanian protesters urge government to scrap gas deals with Israel
Hundreds of Jordanians have staged a protest rally to voice their outrage at Amman’s gas agreements with the Israeli regime, calling on the government to scrap the ‘deals of shame.’
The protesters took to the streets of the capital, Amman, on Friday, carrying national flags and holding signs to decry Israel-Jordan gas deals, the latest of which was inked in September last year.
During the march, the Jordanian demonstrators chanted slogans such as “Our dignity is dropping from deals of shame,” with some holding posters that read, “USA stop commissioning on our blood.”
The Jordanian National Campaign also joined voices with the protesters, calling on the government to drop the 2016 deal as it represents an obstacle to the country’s independence and economic development.
Besides the dependency aspect, activists argue that the money, which will be paid to Israel by Amman under such accords, will be used to finance Tel Aviv’s military and its occupation of Palestinian lands.
In September 2016, a deal was struck between an Israeli gas consortium and the Jordan Electric Power Company, valued at $10 billion (€9.25 billion).
Under the deal, the US-based Noble Energy company and other investors in Israel’s largest gas field will supply Jordan’s national electric company with 8.5 million cubic meters of gas over 15 years.
The agreement was quickly met with widespread popular opposition in Jordan, promoting thousands of people to fill the streets and slam the government over “gas imports from the Zionist enemy.”
The new turnout on Friday came weeks after Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the regime in Tel Aviv has been quietly exporting natural gas to Jordan through an American intermediary firm.
According to the report, gas deliveries to two Jordanian companies, the state-owned Arab Potash and Jordan Bromine, started in January. The firms had signed a 500-million-dollar, 15-year deal three years ago to purchase gas from Israel’s Tamar partners. The US State Department had acted as a mediator to forge the deal.
Over the past months, Jordan has been rocked by separate rallies held in protest at high living expenses and unemployment.
The Jordanian government is one of the only two Arab regimes that have open, diplomatic relations with Israel — the other being Egypt.
Tel Aviv and Amman signed a peace agreement in 1994, but many Jordanians are firmly opposed to normalization of ties with the occupying regime of Israel.