update deskMiddle East

Israel mulls Jordanian request to extend water deal

Jerusalem wants Amman to tone down its hostile rhetoric.

King Abdullah II of Jordan in 2018. Photo by Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock.
King Abdullah II of Jordan in 2018. Photo by Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock.

Israel is considering rejecting a Jordanian request to extend a water supply agreement due to the ferocious antisemitism emanating from Amman since the Hamas-led terrorist attack of Oct. 7.

Jerusalem is holding consultations on the recent Jordanian appeal for the deal, set to expire in May, to be extended for another year, Kan reported on Sunday, citing the hostile remarks directed at the Jewish state by Jordanian politicians and the House of Hashim royal family.

The two countries ended the state of war that existed since 1948 and established diplomatic relations in 1994. Under the agreement inked during the previous Bennett-Lapid government, Israel transfers 100 million cubic meters of water to Jordan per year, double the amount stipulated in the peace treaty.

According to the report, Israel made several requests to Jordan in exchange for renewing the agreement, including moderating the statements of Jordanian officials, reducing incitement in the kingdom and restoring full relations, including returning ambassadors to Amman and Tel Aviv.

On Nov. 1, Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel and told Jerusalem not to return its ambassador to Amman.

A Jordanian Foreign Ministry’s statement said that the move was a protest against the “raging Israeli war on Gaza, which is killing innocent people and causing an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.”

Israel began waging war against Hamas following the terrorist organization’s slaughter of more than 1,200 people in Israel on Oct. 7. Jordan’s letter made no mention of Hamas or the Oct. 7 massacre. It also did not mention the thousands of rockets fired at Israeli civilians.

A spokesperson for the Jordanian government in early December accused Israel of declaring war on the Hashemite Kingdom by attempting to “forcefully displace” Palestinians from Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

“Israel’s attempt to forcefully displace the Palestinians constitutes a declaration of war on Jordan,” Muhannad Mubaidin, who also serves as Amman’s minister of government communications, told Egypt’s Al Qahera News channel.

For their part, the Jordanians attempted to advance the issue via the Americans and Foreign Minister Israel Katz, who previously served as energy and infrastructure minister.

Israel’s Energy and Infrastructure Ministry announced on Jan. 25 that it was considering not extending the water deal due to hostile statements from Amman, led by Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi, who last November announced the suspension of the water agreement.

If an agreement is not reached by May, the supply will revert to 50 million cubic meters of water per the 1994 treaty.

While the government in Amman maintains relations, the Jordanian public is deeply hostile to Israel, with a majority of the population being Palestinians.

Jordan’s King Abdullah on Monday called for an immediate end to the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza while warning of the dangers of continuing escalations in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, according to an official announcement from Amman. The monarch spoke during a meeting with Israeli Arab lawmakers Ayman Odeh, Ahmad Tibi and Youssef Atauna.

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