Dec. 2, 2016
As part of the complex negotiations that will allow Israel to begin exploiting natural gas from beneath its coastal waters, Noble Energy, an American partner in the consortium that has acquired rights to develop the gas field, has made a deal with Jordan to supply it with gas. The agreement won approval in the Jordanian parliament last week, despite much vociferous public opposition to any dealings with Israel. Around the same time, Amman concluded an unrelated accord with Jerusalem and Ramallah to import water from Israeli desalination plants at the Red Sea, some of which will also go to the Palestinian Authority. Oded Eran comments:
This deal [with Noble] is of critical importance for Jordan, which encountered problems when its gas supply from Egypt was cut off due both to the bombing of the pipeline in the Sinai Peninsula by Islamic State and to Egypt’s difficulties in abiding by its agreements to sell gas to Jordan (and to Israel). The deal is also of critical importance to the consortium, which includes three Israeli companies along with the American company, because contracts for future sales enable it to raise the financial resources for developing the gas field. . . .
[P]rogress toward implementing . . . [the] projects for water and energy between Israel and Jordan indicates the positive potential inherent in separating economic and infrastructure progress in trilateral Jordan-Israel-Palestinian relations from progress on a political solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.