In the annals of history, there are moments that stand out as turning points, moments that redefine relationships and set the course for a brighter future. Stepping onto the soil of Abu Dhabi, as energy minister of Israel, I am acutely aware that we are witnessing one such moment.
This visit, the first of its kind since the establishment of the current government in Israel, is not just a testament to the changing dynamics of the Middle East, but also a beacon of hope for a region that has long been marred by differences.
The Abraham Accords have already ushered in a new era of cooperation and understanding in the Middle East. These agreements, which have broken decades-old barriers, are not just pieces of paper but symbols of a shared vision for peace, prosperity, and progress. They have already changed the Middle East, and their ripple effects will continue to reshape the region in the years to come.
During this historic visit, I am meeting on Monday with Emirati Minister of Technology and Industry Sultan Al-Jaber and esteemed colleagues from Jordan – the ministers of water, energy, and the environment. Our gathering is not just a diplomatic formality but a concrete step towards realizing a strategic regional project: electricity for water.
This initiative, which envisions Israeli water in exchange for Jordanian electricity, is a testament to the innovative spirit of our nations and our commitment to mutual growth.
The essence of this project is both innovative and profound. Water from the Mediterranean Sea will undergo a desalination process in Israel using the most advanced Israeli technology in the world. This technology not only represents our nation’s prowess in the field but also offers a sustainable solution to water scarcity.
Once desalinated, this water will be flowed to Jordan, ensuring that its citizens have access to this vital resource. The potential for continuation and expansion of this project is significant, given the vastness of the Mediterranean and the ever-evolving advancements in Israeli desalination technology.
In parallel, the United Arab Emirates, with its advanced technological prowess, will construct a solar farm in Jordan. This farm will harness the abundant sunlight of the region, converting it into clean, sustainable electricity. This electricity will then flow to Israel, meeting our energy needs and reducing our carbon footprint.
How this water-energy deal will change the Middle East
The benefits of this project are manifold. For Israel, it means access to clean energy, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, and moving towards a greener future. For Jordan, it signifies a reliable source of water and ensures that its citizens have access to this basic necessity. And for the UAE, it represents an opportunity to showcase its technological advancements and play a pivotal role in fostering regional harmony.
"It is heartening to note that this initiative has garnered international support. The presence of representatives for the White House envoy for climate affairs, John Kerry, at our meetings in Abu Dhabi, is a testament to the global significance of our endeavors."
The United States, under its current leadership, has been a staunch advocate for addressing climate change and promoting sustainable solutions. Their backing for the electricity-for-water project underscores its potential not just for the Middle East but for the world at large.
In conclusion, this visit, and the project it aims to promote, is a reflection of the new Middle East – a region that is looking beyond its past, focusing on shared goals, and building bridges of cooperation. The electricity-for-water initiative is not just about resources; it’s about redefining relationships, fostering trust, and working together for a brighter, sustainable future.
As I engage in discussions with my esteemed colleagues from the Emirates and Jordan, I am filled with hope and optimism. Together, we are not just making history; we are shaping the future.
The writer is Israel’s minister of national infrastructure, energy, and water.