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Jordan: Massive rally against gas agreement with Israel

Thousands of Jordanians participated in a massive rally to drop the gas agreement signed with Israel in 2016

On Friday, thousands of Jordanians participated in a massive rally to drop the gas agreement signed with Israel in 2016.

This comes as a part of the popular demands, which started in the early days of the signing of the agreement, and only two days after Amman and Tel Aviv announced the start of experimental operations of gas pumping.

The rally commenced in front of the Grand Husseini Mosque, in Amman, reaching the Nakheel Square, amid a heavy security presence.

Participants in the march, called for by the Islamic movement, alongside various youth, partisan and union parties, raised slogans condemning the agreement and criticising the Jordanian government.

The slogans displayed stated: "The gas agreement is occupation," "The enemy's gas is occupation," and "We will not normalise, we will not be subjugated … The people of Jordan are not for sale," as well as "Down to all projects to suppress the Palestinian cause."

Protestors also chanted: "If you've done your prayers…Come defend your country," "The enemy's gas is a humiliation," and "The people want to drop the agreement" in addition to other chants, criticising the Jordanian government.

The demonstrators were led by many Islamic and party leaders as well as deputies, most notably: Murad Al-Adaileh, secretary general of the Islamic Action Front (the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood), Abdullah Al-Akaila, head of the Parliament Reform Bloc (led by Islamists), and his fellow in the bloc, Saud Abu Mahfouz, in addition to the Islamic leader, Salem Falahat, and other political personalities.

In an interview with the Anadolu Agency, Al-Akaila talked about a parliamentary memorandum previously signed to withhold confidence from the government of Prime Minister Omar Razzaz, if the gas agreement was not cancelled. "Unfortunately, it (the memorandum) is still in the drawers of the general secretariat of the Parliament and we will take immediate action to activate it."

Read: Jordan receives first delivery of natural gas from Israel

Al-Akaila continued:

We demand our people to proceed to the Fourth Circle (the location of the government headquarters) to demand the government's departure.

He added: "The rapid movement is aimed at toppling the government through the parliament, and through a massive wave of people moving towards the Fourth Circle to topple the government of Razzaz, who implemented this agreement."

Al-Adaileh pointed out: "The government has betrayed the Jordanian people, who unanimously reject this agreement… The government stands against the Jordanian people, and the agreement must be suspended even if the gas starts to be pumped."

Al-Adaileh also stated: "The agreement imposes normalisation by coercion on the Jordanian people… We reject this agreement and we will drop it, God willing."

On Wednesday, Jordan and Israel announced the start of experimental pumping of natural gas imported from Israel, in the implementation of the agreement signed between the two sides in 2016.

The agreement has been rejected by the Jordanian people and parliament, in which 58 out of 130 MPs have recently signed a memorandum to prepare a draft law to cancel the agreement, on 15 December 2019.

Read: Egypt to begin gas imports from Israel by mid-Jan 2020

In March 2019, the Jordanian parliament took a unanimous decision to reject the gas agreement, but the Constitutional Court issued a decision at the time, stating that the agreement "does not require the approval of the National Assembly," because it is signed between two companies and not two governments.

The agreement, signed in September 2016, will supply Jordan with about 45 billion cubic metres of gas, over 15 years, as of January 2020.

According to the Jordanian National Electric Power company, this agreement will save about 300 million dollars by purchasing Israeli gas, compared to its purchase from international markets.

Jordan has alternatives to Israel, including Egyptian gas, where experimental pumping to the kingdom started in the last quarter of 2018, as well as Iraqi and Algerian gas.

Read: Egypt arrests fan for raising Palestine flag during football match

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