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Israel, Jordan, UAE renew ‘energy for water’ agreement at COP27

November 8, 2022 at 4:06 pm

United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry (C) is being welcomed by officials upon his arrival to attend the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) at the Sharm El Sheikhon November 08, 2022 [Mohamed Abdel Hamid/Anadolu Agency]

Israel, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have today renewed their Memorandum of Understanding to trade solar energy for desalinated water supplies, continuing cooperation deemed necessary between Tel Aviv and Amman.

In the presence of US climate envoy, John Kerry, at the COP27 climate conference in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh, the MoU was signed by Israel’s Outgoing Regional Cooperation Minister, Esawi Frej, Jordanian Minister of Water and Irrigation, Mohammad Al Najjar and UAE’s Climate Change and Environment Minister, Mariam Al Mheiri.

Signed last November at the Dubai Expo, the UAE-brokered MoU aims to have Jordan provide solar energy to Israel in return for Israel channelling desalinated water into the Hashemite Kingdom. The renewal of that pledges to continue “engaging to develop the necessary implements in plans in time for COP28,” the climate conference to be held next year in the Emirates.

Under the agreement, Tel Aviv would purchase solar power from the Jordan-based facility, Prosperity Green – a 600 MW capacity solar plant built by an Emirati firm – while Amman will purchase water from an Israeli site, Prosperity Blue, which is to be constructed along the Mediterranean coast and amount to 200 million cubic meters of desalinated water per year.

OPINION: About the ‘Energy for water’ agreement, implications and risks

According to the document, feasibility studies for each of the projects continue to be conducted and all parties involved affirm that the agreement has “positive potential prospects”.

Being almost landlocked, apart from the Dead Sea and a section of the Gulf of Aqaba, Jordan is one of the world’s most water-deficient nations and requires steady imports of water supplies.

Israel has long provided those imports, even before the two neighbours established official relations, and Amman reportedly sees it as a necessity to benefit from Tel Aviv’s advanced desalination technology, especially at a time of sparse water supplies and increased drought in the region over the past few years.

Jordanian citizens have protested against the ‘energy for water’ agreement and MP’s have walked out of sessions on it, insisting that it continues to legitimise and strengthen the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, especially as it would reportedly see illegal Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank supplied with energy.