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Jordan Parliament Approves Draft Law to Ban Gas Imports From Israel

Jordan Parliament Approves Draft Law to Ban Gas Imports From Israel

Sunday, 19 January, 2020 - 13:30
People protest a gas deal between Jordan and Israel. (Reuters file photo)
Asharq Al-Awsat

Jordan's parliament on Sunday passed a draft law to ban imports of Israeli gas to the country just days after they kicked off under a deal struck in 2016.

The multibillion-dollar deal was opposed by much of the population and caused controversy which saw popular rage marches in the past weeks in Amman and other provinces.

The motion was passed unanimously by Jordan's 130 lawmakers and will be referred to the cabinet to be made law, although legal hurdles may prevent it coming into force, Reuters reported.

The $10 billion 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.

The government has previously noted that it was a deal between companies rather than a political matter.

Jordan has a peace treaty with Israel, however the deal has faced popular opposition. Last week, around 30 deputies signed a memorandum to withdraw confidence from the government over the import of Israeli gas to the country.

The streets also saw calls for both the deal and the peace treaty to be scrapped.

"The gas of the enemy is an occupation. Down with the gas deal," placards carried by protesters said, Reuters reported.

The Jordanian government said after the agreement was signed in 2016 that securing stable energy prices for the next decade could achieve annual savings of at least $500 million and help reduce a chronic budget deficit.

According to Reuters, many Jordanians are also the descendants of Palestinians who moved to the country after the creation of Israel in 1948, and view Israel as an erstwhile enemy that expelled their ancestors from their homes.

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