Amman is witnessing massive protests against the Jordan-Israel agreement on energy and water section. Jordanians believe the agreement facilitates Israeli involvement in local policy-making processes and hazards in the long run.
Thousands of protesters converged in Amman to denounce a Jordan-Israel water-for-energy pact. Under the pact, Israel can secure one of its major initiatives for collaboration with Arab nation of Persian Gulf region. Israel and Jordan reached a peace truce in 1994, while nothing was the outcome ever since.
Major parties to the new Jordan-Israel agreement signed a “declaration of intent” in UAE on Monday. Energy and environment officials from Jordan, Israel, UAE were the signatories. US Climate Envoy played an observatory role during the negotiations.
Protesters in Jordanian Capital believed that the new agreement thwart all Palestinian efforts to overcome violence. “We have the right to live; Palestinians have the right to live. We, Jordanians, support Palestine, and we care about Jordan, that is why we are here today,” a protester told reporters on Monday.
Local reports confirmed that police forces detained 36 students the day after protesting. The reason behind the detainment is still unclear as the protest went on peacefully in Monday. Days later, the hazy “violation of public order” was referred to as the reason behind the backlash.
The deal aims to solve Jordan’s urgent water needs as well as Israel’s desire to diversify its renewable energy balance. The Arab country has huge deserts appropriate for solar energy fields. In return, Israel has dramatically boosted its capability for water desalination.
The protesters in Amman believed that there are political motivations far beyond energy goals working behind the agreement. The Jordanian people are also afraid of a fate the Palestinians went through after accepting Jewish settlers in the lands. A Jordan-Israel agreement may mean more than expected.
Curious risks concerning national sovereignty issues may add new dimensions to the new Jordan-Israel agreement. According to the agreement, Israel takes control of large sections of Jordanian lands to construct a solar energy farm. That might ring the bell about Israeli motivations outside the provisions of the agreement.
“I don’t see this agreement ticking any boxes to achieve energy and water security… This is more of a political deal, it’s not about the feasibility or the strategy,” a Jordanian energy expert said. There are loads of other experts and politicians in Jordan sharing similar views. “We don’t trust the occupation,” Saleh al-Armouti, a Jordanian MP told reporters.
There is another major plan to overcome Jordan’s water shortfall. National Water Carrier Project aims to deliver 300m cubic meters of desalinated water from Aqaba coastline over the Red Sea. This is while Israel pledged to supply Jordan with 200m cubic meters, far less than the country’s needs.
Experts believe that Amman officials may focus on financing the grand project that will be a far better resolution. Besides, Jordan-Israel agreement may lessen the water crisis in Jordan for a limited term under the provisions of the agreement.
A further concern is also about government’s decision to bypass the legislature’s confirmation for the agreement. This is what it did about the gas deal with Israel in 2016 saying governmental institution don’t need parliament verification. “They should have presented it before, but until now nothing has been presented,” Al-Armouti asserted referring to the Parliament’s role to amend such agreements.
By and large, opposition to the agreements with Israel devours the Arab nations following the Abraham accords. Ranging from Morocco to UAE and Bahrain, people find Israel untrustworthy due to its practice in Palestine. When it comes to Land submission, it seems tougher.