Jordanians protest against natural gas deal with Israel

Jordanians protest against natural gas deal with Israel

Fri Oct 7, 2016 4:47PM

Hundreds of Jordanians have staged a rally in central Amman in protest at a multi-billion-dollar deal struck last month to import natural gas from Israel.

The protesters gathered in front of the Professional Associations Complex building following Friday prayers, carrying banners and chanting slogans in condemnation of the accord, Arabic-language Ammon news website reported.

Participants in the march, organized by trade unions and political parties opposed to the 1994 peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, argued that the purchase of natural gas from the “occupying regime of Israel” is a crime against Jordanians.

They also rejected the gas agreement as a move toward further improvement of ties with Israel.

Last week, protesters gathered in front of Grand al-Husseini Mosque, also known as King Hussein Mosque, in downtown Amman following Friday prayers, and carried signs reading “The Enemy’s Gas Is Occupation” and “No to the Shameful Deal” in Arabic.

The participants in the demonstration stated that the 10-billion-dollar natural gas deal struck with Israel runs contrary to Jordan’s national interests, calling for its immediate abolition.

On September 26, Jordan’s National Electric Power Company signed an agreement with US-based Noble Energy and Israeli partners for the import of approximately 1.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, or 300 million cubic feet per day (mcf/d), over a 15-year term. Production is expected to begin around 2019 or 2020.

The American firm will tap the Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the Israeli-occupied territories.

Jordan’s National Electric Power Company claims that the gas deal will save Jordan $600 million on a yearly basis.

Former Jordanian Energy Minister Muhammad Batayneh has questioned the terms of the agreement, saying Israel would be the main beneficiary.