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Jordan-Israel-UAE Energy Deal Is Not About Combating Climate Change, It’s About Money And Politics

The people of Jordan are pushing back against one of the biggest Arab-Israeli energy deals to date. Jordan’s people disregard the claims about “combating climate change” — as it becomes a mask with which world powers hide their political and geo-strategic agendas — arguing the deal is about monetary gains and normalization with Israel.

This Friday Jordanians took to their streets in the tens of thousands, in the country’s capital city Amman, chanting “no to the agreement of shame,” and calling on their government to abandon its 1994 peace treaty with Israel. The demonstrators, coming from opposing political leanings, both Islamist and Leftists, were most concerned with how the Kingdom of Jordan is becoming part of the Trump-era Abraham Accords, which according to conservative findings are rejected by at least 85% of the Jordanian population.

The joint energy swap deal, which was agreed to by representatives from Abu Dhabi, Tel Aviv and Amman, in the presence of the Biden administration’s Climate Envoy, John Kerry, is being sold as a progressive deal designed to tackle climate change and is being praised by Washington based think-tanks such as the Brookings Institute. The signing, last Monday, which is still only a declaration of intent for a water-for-energy deal, would see an Emirati firm, called Masdar, construct a Solar farm in Jordan. The solar farm is to be designed to generate energy for Israel and create roughly 180 million dollars in revenue each year, half for Amman and the other half for Masdar. Israel in return would agree to provide Jordan with 200 million cubic meters of desalinated water from the Mediterranean. 

For Western liberals, the excuse of a climate-smart cooperation deal may be an easy sell, but in the Arab world any deal with Israel is easy to see through for the general public. The proof that Israel is not really concerned with climate change can be shown on many levels. Most obvious of which is its aggressive military activities, but even when it comes to Jordan this is clearly not the primary motive. At the beginning of 2020, Israel began pumping natural gas to Jordan as part of a 10 billion dollar deal struck between Jordan’s NEPCO and Noble Energy Inc in 2016. Israel also supplies its southern neighbor, Egypt, with Gas too. Not only this, but just last Thursday Israel signed a memorandum with Egypt pledging to increase the sale of gas. 

Israel has also yet to scrap a deal it signed with a private Emirati company, which would see Israel and the UAE work together to create a pipeline project providing the quickest route between the Persian Gulf and Europe for oil transfer. Despite calls from the start to scrap the deal over environmental concerns, it seems that the possible security risks that the Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline would pose — along with the possible damage to its relationships with foreign powers opposed to a competing pipeline to the Egyptian SUMED pipeline — may be enough to kill the deal.

In Amman, student protesters, who were subject to arrests and beatings, demanded the end of the deal at the Hashemite University of Jordan and the University of Jordan. But it isn’t only students and the public who are opposed, even members of the Jordanian government are speaking out. Yanal Freihat, a member of the Jordan’s Lower House of Parliament, said that the effect of the deal on Jordan’s security could be a major issue and posed the question:

“Does (it make sense to put) our strategic needs for water in the hands of ‘the enemy,’ who is occupying Palestine and continues to annex parts of the West Bank including the Jordan Valley?”

The largest issue here would be that not only does this move begin to drag the Hashemite Kingdom into line with the Abraham Accords, signed to normalize Arab relations with Israel, but could also give Tel Aviv a significant amount of power over Amman politically. In the event of any major crisis, Israel would be a primary source of Jordan’s water supply, which is currently sitting at a low of providing a daily average of 80 cubic meters per person. A dependency on Israel gives it the right leverage to bully the Jordanians into conceding to its demands on the likes of the Palestinian issue, for fear of a water crisis resulting from non-compliance.

Perhaps the most ridiculous part of this deal is the fact that climate change is now becoming a mask with which world powers can hide their political and geo-strategic agendas. When it comes to countries like the UAE and Israel, they are renowned for their human rights violations and destructive military endeavours in some of the poorest and most war torn areas of the world, such as Gaza, Libya, Syria, Yemen and the list goes on. They are massive polluters through their military action, but in the cult which has been formed of world leaders, who claim to be taking measures against climate change, their trade deals and militaries are not ever included in the question of emissions. This can become very dangerous if we are going to allow politicians to get away with using this excuse to justify political, not climate, decisions.

Robert Inlakesh
Robert Inlakesh is a documentary filmmaker, journalist, writer, Middle-East analyst & news correspondent for The Last American Vagabond.

One Reply to “Jordan-Israel-UAE Energy Deal Is Not About Combating Climate Change, It’s About Money And Politics

  1. Checked a map. Jordan is almost completely landlocked by Occupied Palestine, Occupied (Golan Heights) Syria, Iraq and Arabia. Jordanian businesses could build wells for underground water and build water capturing structures overground and sell the Jordanian water to Jordanians. They’ve probably tried this or it’s not enough. Where are all the environmentalists? Surrounded by Arabs and they chose Zionists.. How did Jordanians live all this time then? Where dod they get their water from?

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