Jordanian protesters have taken to the streets in the capital Amman, calling for the cancellation of a multi-billion-dollar gas agreement signed between the state-owned National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) and Israel in 2016.
The protesters gathered near the Jordanian Ministry of Energy and NEPCO’s headquarters in Amman on Sunday, holding banners and chanting slogans against the Israeli regime and the gas import agreement.
The demonstration was organized by the ‘National Campaign to Abolish the Import Agreement with the Zionist Regime’ with the slogan, “No to the agreement, Jordan should not be the enemy’s gateway for gas and electricity exports.”
Muhammad al-Absi, a member of the campaign follow-up committee, said the rally was held on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the signing of the “catastrophic” agreement.
“Today we reiterate our call, which did not stop at all, to demand the cancellation of this agreement. We say there is no way but to cancel this agreement, which will make this country a pawn in the hands of the Zionist entity, and will be used to blackmail us about anything as it did in the water file,” he added.
The Jordanian protesters chanted, “The agreement is a betrayal,” and, “Arab Jordan is for the free, not for the traitorous Zionists.”
Suleiman Sweis, a protester, said, “I stand today with my colleagues in order to protect the future generations of Jordan, and to preserve their dignity and Jordan's sovereignty.”
The deal was struck between an Israeli gas consortium and the NEPCO in September 2016 with an estimated value of $10 billion (€9.25 billion).
Under the deal, the US-based Noble Energy company and other investors in Israel’s largest gas field will supply Jordan’s national electric company with 8.5 million cubic meters of gas over 15 years.
The agreement was quickly met with widespread popular opposition in Jordan, promoting thousands of people to fill the streets and slam the government over “gas imports from the Zionist enemy.”
The Jordanian government is one of the few Arab regimes that have open, diplomatic relations with Israel.
Tel Aviv and Amman signed a peace agreement in 1994, but many Jordanians are implacably opposed to normalization of ties with the occupying regime of Israel.