Jordan says it won’t sign energy and water exchange deal with Israel

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi [Mike Segar/Reuters]

Top diplomat says Amman’s priority is to end ‘Israel’s barbarism in Gaza’, which can no longer be seen as self-defence.

Jordan has said that it won’t sign a deal to provide energy to Israel in exchange for water – an agreement that was planned to be ratified last month.

“We had a regional dialogue about regional projects. I think that all of this …, the war [has] proven, [it] will not proceed,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told Al Jazeera on Thursday, referring to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

“We will not sign this agreement any longer. Can you imagine a Jordanian minister sitting next to an Israeli minister to sign a water and electricity agreement, all while Israel continues to kill children in Gaza?” asked the top diplomat of Jordan, which borders Israel to the east.

Jordan and Israel have held a fragile peace agreement since 1994, which returned some 380km (236 miles) of Jordan’s occupied land from Israeli control and resolved long-standing water disputes.

“We [Jordan] signed the peace agreement in 1994 as part of a wider Arab effort to establish a two-state solution. That has not been achieved. Instead, Israel has not upheld its part of the agreement. So the peace deal will have to remain on the back burner gathering dust for now,” he said.

All of Jordan’s efforts were focused on ending what Safadi described as the “retaliatory barbarism carried out by Israel” in Gaza.

“Israel’s aggression and crimes [in Gaza] can no longer be justified as self-defence. It has been killing innocent civilians and attacking hospitals,” he told Al Jazeera.

“If any other state had committed a fraction of what Israel is doing now, we would have seen sanctions imposed on it from every corner of the globe,” he added.

This month, Jordan announced it was “immediately” recalling its ambassador to Israel in response to the war in Gaza, accusing Israel of creating an “unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe”.

Safadi said Jordan would never enter into a dialogue about who runs Gaza after the war, considering such a move now could be seen as a green light to Israel to do whatever it wants.

“If the international community wants to talk about this, it must stop the war now,” he added.

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Jordan, like other Arab and Muslim countries, has strongly condemned Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in which more than 11,600 people have been killed, including more than 4,700 children. Israel has also launched a ground offensive and restricted supplies of water, food and electricity to the enclave.

Safadi spoke as the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, warned of a “deliberate attempt to strangle” its operations in the Gaza Strip and said it risks shutting down all its humanitarian work because of a lack of fuel.

Israel cut off fuel shipments into the Gaza Strip as part of a “complete siege” on the area after Hamas fighters from Gaza launched an attack on southern Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people, according to Israeli authorities.



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