Jordan buys 50 million cubic meters of water from Israel. The country, where water is already scarce anyway, suffers from drought and severe water shortage after the lack of rainfall in winter. The deal is one of the largest ever between the two countries. In 2010, Israel sold 10 million cubic meters of water and 3 million last April.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid signed the agreement on the Jordanian side of the bridge over the border Jordan River. Details will be finalized in the coming days.
The 1994 peace treaty between the two countries included agreements to distribute water from the Jordan River and other sources. However, this is not enough to provide 10 million residents of Jordan with adequate water. Israel, which also sometimes suffers from water shortages, is one of the world’s leaders in seawater desalination.
The two countries also concluded a deal that would increase Jordan’s exports to the Palestinian territories from $160 million to $700 million annually. Peace, transport and energy issues were also discussed. Lapid said he wanted to strengthen ties with “key partner” Jordan. Those have fallen to an all-time low under the previous administration of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Despite the agreements reached, the Jordanian minister noted the tensions between the two countries, referring among other things to the illegal settlements of Jews in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Lapid was asked not to change the status of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where only Muslims are now allowed to pray.
American news website Axios reported that the new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett secretly traveled to Jordan last week to meet Jordan’s King Abdullah II at his palace in Amman. Bennett then told the king that he wanted to agree to the water deal, which had been very sensitive under Netanyahu. The sources said that the two leaders agreed to enter into a normal dialogue.
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