Israel to advance joint industrial zone with Jordan

The idea was first raised in peace talks between Jerusalem and Amman in 1994 and revived in recent years.

 Prime Minister Yair Lapid meets with King Abdullah II of Jordan, July 27, 2022 (photo credit: CHAIM TZACH/GPO)
Prime Minister Yair Lapid meets with King Abdullah II of Jordan, July 27, 2022
(photo credit: CHAIM TZACH/GPO)

Israel will accelerate the process of establishing the Jordan Gate, a shared industrial zone with Jordan, the cabinet decided on Sunday.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Jordanian King Abdullah II finalized the plans during the former’s visit to Amman last week. Former prime minister Naftali Bennett previously put the project on hold, after Jordan’s prime minister praised Palestinians who assaulted Israelis in April. 

The idea of a joint industrial zone was first raised in peace talks between Israel and Jordan in 1994 and picked up in recent years by the Regional Cooperation Ministry. The plan includes an already-constructed bridge between the Jordanian and Israeli sides of the park.

What's the plan?

The government plans to establish medium-term and long-term plans for attracting business to the industrial zone, which is near Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi. 

THE CREATION of a Jordan Valley free trade and industrial zone, straddling both sides of the Jordan River while servicing Israel, the Palestinians and Jordan, would make for a win-win situation for all involved, including the US. (credit: YANIV NADAV/FLASH90)THE CREATION of a Jordan Valley free trade and industrial zone, straddling both sides of the Jordan River while servicing Israel, the Palestinians and Jordan, would make for a win-win situation for all involved, including the US. (credit: YANIV NADAV/FLASH90)

The Prime Minister’s Office and the ministries of Regional Cooperation, Transportation, Foreign Affairs and Economy, as well as the Aviation Authority, worked on the proposal brought to a cabinet vote on Sunday, much of which involves the technical aspects of passing from one side of the border to the other within the park.

“Twenty-eight years after making peace with Jordan, we are taking our good neighborly relations another step forward," Lapid said. "This is a breakthrough that will greatly contribute to developing and strengthening the area.

“This is an initiative that will bring employment to both countries, will advance our diplomatic and economic relations, and will deepen the peace and friendship between the two countries,” he said. “It will allow Israeli and Jordanian entrepreneurs and business people to communicate directly. It will create shared initiatives for trade, technology and local industry.”

“This is an initiative that will bring employment to both countries, will advance our diplomatic and economic relations, and will deepen the peace and friendship between the two countries.”

Prime Minister Yair Lapid

Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Freij said that advancing the Jordan Gate was one of his main goals in the past year, as part of a general improvement in relations with Jordan.

“We are now taking a step towards peace between citizens, not just between the countries, but between the nations," he said. "Peace between us is incomplete without economic and civil cooperation that allows the citizens of the countries to enjoy its fruit.”

Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli said that she praises any actions improving relations with Jordan, a “strategic partner of decisive importance for regional stability.”

The background

Lapid met with Abdullah in Amman on Wednesday, for the first time since he became premier last month.

The leaders discussed ways to improve relations between the countries and put more meaning behind their peace agreement.

The prime minister previously spoke to Abdullah in early July, ahead of US President Joe Biden’s visit to the region, wishing the king and the people of Jordan a happy Eid al-Adha.