In regular instances, the goal of the latest Jordan-Israel-United Arab Emirates declaration of intent would make sense.
A rich Arab Gulf nation is keen to contribute to the large infrastructure of photo voltaic panels within the huge, unused Jordanian desert with a purpose to provide a neighboring nation — Israel — with clear electrical energy that can assist desalinate and ship water again to water-poor Jordan.
A seeming no-brainer, however these are usually not regular instances.
The “neighboring country,” Israel, is occupying Palestinian Arab lands, and the Gulf companion’s normalization coverage with Israel has not performed nicely amongst Jordanians and Palestinians.
The deal is smart for Jordan on many ranges, Ali Sawalha, an knowledgeable on Israeli affairs, advised Al-Monitor.
First, it helps Jordan get again into good relations with the Gulf international locations. Relations had soured after the signing of the Abraham Accords, and Jordan has been searching for methods to interact with out paying the excessive political value that has include the normalization deal that was made public within the final 12 months of the Donald Trump administration.
While Trump and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu are now not round, the normalization course of doesn’t appear to be slowing down, a lot to the anger of many Jordanians and Palestinians.
Maamoun Abu Nuwar, a retired Jordanian air pressure common, advised Al-Monitor that the deal displays weak point on the a part of Jordan, which impacts nationwide safety for Jordanians for the approaching generations.
“It is clear [the] water policy has been a failure. Not enough effort was put [into finding] alternatives. Why not try to get water from Syria, especially since Jordan is hosting 1.3 million Syrian refugees?” Abu Nuwar requested, questioning why they should not desalinate the Red Sea as a substitute of being held hostage by Israel for his or her water provide.
Mazin Qumsiyeh, founder and director of the biodiversity heart at Bethlehem University, advised Al-Monitor that the thought of this and related initiatives has at all times been to make sure the strengthening of Israel by making international locations within the area much less self-sufficient and extra depending on Israel.
“It is strengthening colonization and violations of human rights (including apartheid) within Palestine. For countries like Jordan with the Red Sea-Dead Sea canal, it ensures burdening its government with debt that cannot be repaid, and thus making countries follow an indentured servitude paradigm removing sovereignty and taking over other natural resources using ‘debt’ as a weapon.”
For all of the bluster and opposition by Jordanian and Palestinian activists, no official phrase has come from the Ramallah-based PLO management and even from Gaza-based Hamas. Like Jordan, the cash-starving Palestinian authorities with 200,000 Palestinians working within the UAE can’t afford to anger the UAE by opposing this plan.
Islamic and nationwide forces in Jordan, nonetheless, are making their voices heard and planning a main demonstration on Friday in protest of the declaration of intent.
Jordanian officers insist that they’re neither abandoning the opposite choices nor relying on this concept to unravel their strategic wants.
Mohammad Najjar, Jordan’s water minister, insisted in public statements that the declaration of intent doesn’t cancel work on the nationwide water service, which goals to offer consuming water to the tune of 300 cubic meters.
In a press assertion, Najjar mentioned Nov. 23 that the declaration of intent is “not connected with the peace agreement and is not obligatory on Jordan.” He additionally mentioned that whereas “Jordan is not building its water strategy on this declaration if it is turned into an agreement, it will be presented to the parliament for approval.”
In its official assertion, Jordan mentioned that its water state of affairs reached a deficit of 40 million cubic meters in 2021, based on Bashar Batinah, secretary-general of the water authority. He advised a parliamentary committee, “The water deficit in the capital has reached 20 cubic meters.”
The declaration of intent will enable Jordan to spend a 12 months or extra to review the state of affairs and discover out if the venture is viable. According to Article 30 of the Jordanian Constitution, any worldwide settlement have to be offered to the parliament for approval. Najjar mentioned that if there shall be an settlement, it’ll in actual fact be offered to parliament.
By signing the declaration, Jordan has succeeded in enhancing its relations with the UAE and the United States, which is co-sponsoring the plan. The nonbinding settlement has even helped Jordan enhance its standing with Israel, regardless that Jordan’s King Abdullah has but to satisfy publicly with the Naftali Bennett administration and is awaiting decision of the killing of a Jordanian choose on the Israeli facet of the King Hussein Bridge and two Jordanians on the Israeli Embassy in Amman, in addition to violations of the established order in Jerusalem, particularly Al Aqsa Mosque.