Jordan Lawmakers Vote to Block Israeli Gas Deal
Jordan’s parliament approved a draft law on January 19 banning imports of Israeli gas, which started this year sparking public protests.
The 130 lawmakers in the country’s lower house unanimously supported the motion, which will now be referred to its cabinet to be passed into law.
At stake is a $10bn supply deal signed in 2016 by a US-Israeli consortium led by Texas-based Noble Energy and Jordan’s national electric power company (Nepco), for the supply of gas from Israel’s offshore Leviathan field. Shipments began on January 1, and are expected to total 60bn m3 over a 15-year period.
The government has previously dismissed calls to block the deal, insisting it is strictly commercial rather than political in nature. The contract was not referred to parliament for approval.
Israel and Jordan signed a landmark peace accord in 1994 but relations between the former adversaries have grown increasingly frayed in recent years. The main areas of contention between the two sides include the status of Jerusalem and a vow last year by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to annex large swathes of occupied Palestine. Many Jordanians descended from Palestinians that moved to the country after Israel’s creation in 1948, viewing Israel as an erstwhile enemy.