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Israel signs deal to double water supply to Jordan

An aerial picture taken on July 15, 2021, shows a section of the Jordan River flowing along the border with Jordan (background), south of the Sea of Galilee, or Lake Tiberias, one of the main water sources in Israel. (MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP)
An aerial picture taken on July 15, 2021, shows a section of the Jordan River flowing along the border with Jordan (background), south of the Sea of Galilee, or Lake Tiberias, one of the main water sources in Israel. (MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP)

Israel formally agrees to double the amount of freshwater it provides to neighbor Jordan, one of the world’s most water-deficient countries.

The agreement is proof that “we want good neighborly relations,” says Karine Elharrar, Israel’s minister of infrastructure, energy and water resources.

Elharrar traveled to Jordan for a signing ceremony between representatives to the Joint Water Committee that manages bilateral water relations. This capped an arrangement first announced in July.

The two countries agreed then that Israel would sell 50 million cubic meters of water a year to Jordan, doubling what it already supplies.

“This represents the largest water sale in the history of the two countries,” says Gidon Bromberg, Israel director of the regional environmental group EcoPeace Middle East.

He says that the deal “reflects the growing understanding that the climate crisis already heavily impacting the region must lead to increased cooperation.”

Jordan’s cooperation with Israel on water predates their 1994 peace treaty. Israel is also a hot, dry country, but desalination technology has opened opportunities for selling freshwater.

The additional water Israel will provide will come from the Sea of Galilee, says Shaked Eliahu, a spokeswoman for Elharrar.

The water deal comes after bilateral relations had cooled under Israel’s former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Naftali Bennett, who took over in June, has made strengthening ties with Amman a priority.

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