Jordan Parliament Passes Draft Law to Ban Gas Imports from «Israel»
By Staff, Agencies
The Parliament of Jordan has approved a draft law to ban imports of “Israeli” gas just days after they started under a multibillion-dollar deal struck in 2016 that is opposed by much of the population.
The motion was unanimously passed on Sunday by Jordan's 130 legislators and will be referred to the cabinet to be made law, although legal hurdles may prevent it from coming into force.
The government previously said it was a deal between companies rather than a political matter.
The $10bn supply deal was originally struck between Jordan's state-owned utility and a US-“Israeli” consortium led by Texas-based Noble Energy to provide gas to the country's power plants for electricity generation.
It was not referred to Parliament for approval.
The deal – which supplies Jordan for 15 years – has faced much popular opposition, with legislators arguing it makes the kingdom dependent on its neighbor for energy.
A source in the “Israeli” energy industry, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "The gas agreement between Jordanian National Electric Power Company and American-based Noble Energy is being implemented from early January 2020, and no change is expected in that regard."
On Friday, hundreds of Jordanians holding national flags and chanting slogans demonstrated in downtown Amman, calling on the government to cancel the agreement.
The Jordanian government said after the deal was signed in 2016 that securing stable energy prices for the next decade could achieve annual savings of at least $500m and help reduce a chronic budget deficit.
But the import of gas from the “Israeli” entity has become a major focus in Jordan and sparked protests and calls for both the deal and the so-called “peace treaty” to be scrapped.
"The gas of the enemy is an occupation. Down with the gas deal," placards carried by protesters said.
Public opinion across Jordan has remained against the normalization of ties with the “Israeli” entity, and on the government level, these relations have become under increasing strain since the gas deal was struck since Donald Trump replaced Barack Obama as US president.