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Hosting Jordanian ambassador in J’lem, Zandberg vows to promote climate cooperation

Environmental protection minister says meeting with Ghassan Majali was ‘extraordinary opportunity to strengthen ties’

Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg (R) meets with Jordanian Ambassador to Israel, Ghassan Majali (L), in Jerusalem, January 12, 2022. (Courtesy)
Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg (R) meets with Jordanian Ambassador to Israel, Ghassan Majali (L), in Jerusalem, January 12, 2022. (Courtesy)

Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg met on Wednesday with Jordan’s ambassador to Israel at her office in Jerusalem to discuss “cooperation between the countries in the fields of environment and climate,” the minister’s office said in a statement.

“This was an important meeting in which we discussed cooperation between the countries in the fields of environment and climate. The renewal of relations between Israel and Jordan brings with it a great and extraordinary opportunity to strengthen ties between the two countries,” Zandberg was quoted as saying after meeting with Ghassan Majali.

“We will promote cooperation and deepen regional cooperation in the fields of climate and the environment, for the common interests of the two countries,” she added.

The meeting comes after the two countries signed the largest-ever cooperation agreement, which will see the construction of a major solar power plant in Jordan to generate electricity for Israel, while a desalination plant established in Israel will send water to Jordan.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Zandberg told Majali the agreement was of “great importance, both in terms of regional cooperation, and a large part in tackling the climate crisis of the two countries,” the minister’s office said.

The two also discussed the restoration of water flow through the Jordan River and on to the Dead Sea, and removal of pollution on the Israeli side.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz (right) meets in Amman with Jordan’s King Abdullah on January 5, 2022. (Royal Hashemite Court)

The Environmental Protection Ministry said the joint work between Zandberg and Majali is “in order to improve the environment and life of the residents of the two countries, as well as of the Palestinians in the West Bank.”

The recent deal comes after a period in which 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.

In July, Bennett met with King Abdullah II in secret at the crown palace in Amman, in the first summit between the countries’ leaders in over three years. Last week Defense Minister Benny Gantz also met with Abdullah in Amman, their second meeting in the past year.

Experts say future cooperation could help improve relations, which Jordan’s King Abdullah has described as a “cold peace.”

Under their 1994 peace treaty, the Jewish state recognized Jordan’s oversight of Muslim holy sites in East Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War. But there are often demonstrations in Jordan in solidarity with the Palestinians.

AFP contributed to this report.

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