Israel, Jordan advance clean energy-for-water deal

The deal has Israel supplying Jordan with desalinated water in exchange for Jordan supplying Israel with green energy.

 Israel and Jordan advance a water-for-energy deal at COP27. (photo credit: BRADLEY D'COUTHO)
Israel and Jordan advance a water-for-energy deal at COP27.
(photo credit: BRADLEY D'COUTHO)

Jordan and Israel agreed to advance a joint green energy and water deal, during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm al-Sheikh on Tuesday.

The agreement, facilitated by the US and the UAE, involves Israel constructing a designated desalination plant to export more water to Jordan at full price, and Jordan building a solar field in the desert in Jordan to export clean energy to Israel, which lacks open space, and to test solar energy storage solutions.

The countries agreed a year ago to examine the possibility of such an arrangement, and Tuesday’s agreement marked an advancement towards making the deal a reality.

Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej, who was at the signing ceremony, said that the current government is leaving the next one “a legacy of cross-border cooperation that creates hope for the whole region, with states working together to advance the optimal use of natural resources. This legacy of action proves the power of peace.”

Energy Minister Karin Elharrar said the initial deal marked “the opening of a new page in relations between Israel and Jordan,” in which the constant cooperation between the Israeli and Jordanian teams enabled greater trust between the countries that creates geopolitical, economic and environmental opportunities.

 Israel's President Isaac Herzog and King Abdullah II of Jordan meeting at the COP27 conference in Egypt, November 7, 2022. (credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO) Israel's President Isaac Herzog and King Abdullah II of Jordan meeting at the COP27 conference in Egypt, November 7, 2022. (credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)

“I hope the new government will adopt the project that I led and will not let any obstacle get in the way of its implementation, because it is a good project for all sides regardless of political opinions.”

Energy Minister Karin Elharrar

Who was involved in this deal?

The departing government worked to improve Israel-Jordan relations, with former prime minister Naftali Bennett and other ministers meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah. However, the usual tensions flared when Palestinians rioted on the Temple Mount; Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh praised Palestinian attacks on Israelis.

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who is likely to become prime minister after winning last week’s election, had a contentious relationship with Abdullah as premier, mostly over issues related to security on the Temple Mount and Israel’s response to violence by Muslim worshippers at the holy site.