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Jordan's constitutional court rules cancelling gas deal with Israel would be illegal

A view of the platform of Israel's Leviathan natural gas field [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 13 May, 2020

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Jordan's constitutional court ruled against cancelling the kingdom's controversial natural gas deal with Israel.
Jordan's Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday that cancelling the kingdom's controversial natural gas deal with Israel would be illegal.

The court said the cancellation of the agreement would be "completely inconsistent" with stipulations set out in a peace agreement between the two countries, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Earlier this year Israel began exporting gas from the offshore Leviathan field to neighbours Jordan and Egypt - the only two Arab countries it has peace treaties with - under a 15-year agreement.

The deal struck with the Amman government sparked streets protests in Jordan, where there is widespread support of Palestine and many consider Israel an enemy.

Jordan's parliament voted in favour of a law to ban gas imports from Israel in January, weeks after the Jewish state began pumping it to the kingdom in a $10 billion deal.

But now the kingdom's constitutional court has ruled that only Jordan's king can declare war or ratify treaties and agreements.

Jordan's government appear hestitant to back the legislative push against an agreement which it has said improves energy security for Jordanians.

The motion passed by Jordan's parliament stated that "the government, its ministries and state institutions and companies are prohibited from importing gas from Israel".

Prior to the vote, hundreds of Jordanians took to the streets of Amman denouncing the "shameful" deal with Israel and calling on the government to scrap it, holding up placards "we will not be partners in the crime".

Read more: Anger on the streets: Israeli deals and relations 'outrightly rejected' by Jordanians

Jordan imports nearly 98 percent of its energy needs, and has long relied on gas, heavy fuel oil and diesel to run its power plants.

The cash-strapped desert kingdom with few natural resources has defended the deal saying it would cut $600 million a year from the state's energy bill.

For years Jordan had relied on Egyptian gas supplies but a spate of attacks on the export pipeline that runs through the restive Sinai Peninsula had disrupted that flow.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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