Bennett agrees to provide Jordan with more water
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has agreed to a request from Jordan to sell an additional 50 million cubic metres of water per year for potentially the next five years, according to reports by Ynet.
The Jordanian request was made to the Joint Water Committee for Israel and Jordan at a meeting, and the amount will be added to existing supplies already purchased by them to alleviate water shortages.
According to reports, the Biden administration was active in applying pressure on Israel to agree to Jordan’' request, in an effort to improve recently-soured relations between the two countries.
“Israel has never sold such large quantities of water to Jordan," the Israel director of EcoPeace Middle East Gideon Bromberg told The Jerusalem Post.
“It's a reflection of a potential game changer moment that has occurred, where both both sides now have an opportunity to create a healthier joint political environment,” he added.
The agreement has been approved for the period until the end of 2022, and Bennett has instructed that the details surrounding the deal be examined in more detail by the National Security Headquarters, before approval for the remaining time is given.
Jordan has agreed to pay the requested funds to Israel in full, to alleviate Israeli taxpayers of additional burden.
The deal marks a turning point in Israeli-Jordanian relations, which took a sharp downwards turn during Israel's recent onslaught of Gaza, and when Jordan denied former PM Netanyahu permission to board a plane to the UAE.
A 1994 agreement between the two countries stipulated that Israel would supply Jordan with up to 55 million m3 of water a year from the Sea of Galilee, regardless of the condition of the lake.
"Israel and Jordan need to improve their relations and water and energy issues can be at the heart of repairing the damage," explained Bromberg to The Jerusalem Post.
The required amount frequently exceeds 55 million m3, and requests for more are invariably agreed to by Israel, except in 2021, when Netanyahu stalled the decision in retaliation for his postponed trip to the UAE.