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Jordanians rally against Israeli gas deal

‘No to financing the Zionist entity from the pockets of Jordanian citizens,’ hundreds cry in Amman protest against $10 billion accord

Jordanians gather during a protest against the government agreement to import natural gas from Israel, in the capital Amman on September 30, 2016.
(Ahmad Alameen/AFP)
Jordanians gather during a protest against the government agreement to import natural gas from Israel, in the capital Amman on September 30, 2016. (Ahmad Alameen/AFP)

AMMAN, Jordan — Hundreds of Jordanians took part in a demonstration Friday in the center of Amman to protest a deal signed this week to import natural gas from Israel.

Demonstrators carried banners reading “No to financing the Zionist entity from the pockets of Jordanian citizens” and “No to gas imports from the Zionist enemy.”

The protest was called by trade unions and political parties opposed to the 1994 peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, half the population of which is of Palestinian origin.

“Gas from the Zionists is a disgrace,” demonstrators chanted.

A US-led consortium leading the development of Israel’s offshore gas reserves announced the signing on Monday of a deal to sell natural gas from its Leviathan field to Jordan.

US firm Noble Energy, the lead partner, said the contract with the National Electric Power Company of Jordan (NEPCO) was for 300 million cubic feet (8.5 million cubic meters) per day over a 15-year term.

It includes an option to purchase a further 50 million cubic feet, up to a total of 350 million daily.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) on Monday praised the deal as “an extremely important national achievement.”

“This is an important milestone in strengthening the ties and strategic partnerships between Israel and Jordan and the entire region,” he said, according to Channel 10.

Delek Drilling CEO Yossi Abu said the deal marked “a historic day,” according to the Hebrew-language NRG website. The agreement “establishes the Leviathan oilfield as a serious player on the energy map,” he said.

“Supplying natural gas to Jordan will enable our neighbors in Jordan to benefit from efficient, clean and cheap energy, just like the citizens of Israel,” he said. “It will contribute to the prosperity of Israel and Jordan and will strengthen ties and active partnerships between the two.”

“The Leviathan consortium will continue to push forward additional deals including with Egypt, Turkey and the Palestinian Authority,” he added.

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