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Israel Denies Blocking Jordan's Nuclear Plans

Israeli officials strongly deny Jordanian King Abdullah II's accusations that Israel seeks to block Amman's nuclear energy plans.
By Chana Ya'ar and AFP
First Publish: 9/12/2012, 4:25 PM

Jordan's King Abdullah II
Jordan's King Abdullah II
Reuters

Israeli officials have strongly denied charges leveled by Jordanian King Abdullah II earlier Wednesday that Israel seeks to block Amman's nuclear energy plans.

"Strong opposition to Jordan's nuclear energy program is coming from Israel,” Abdullah told AFP. “A Jordanian delegation would approach a potential partner, and one week later an Israeli delegation would be there, asking our interlocutors not to support Jordan's nuclear energy bid.”

But Israeli officials said the king's claims are not true.

"Israel supports the use of nuclear power in Jordan to meet its energy and water needs, and has never acted against the Jordanian program,” an Israeli official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. He added that Israel might even become a potential customer for electricity produced by any future Jordanian nuclear power plant. "Israel has a potential interest in purchasing electricity produced by Jordanian reactors,” he said.

A second source confirmed the positive response. “Every time we were consulted on this, we adopted a positive approach,” he told AFP, also declining to be identified. “The king's accusations sound [like] a hollow excuse. We were consulted and we always said that of course, if this was done according to NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) regulations and supervision and everything, then fine, we have no objection.”

Both Israel and Jordan have found themselves in escalating difficulties over electricity production due to disruption of natural gas supplies from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula to Jordan, and the total cessation of its supplies to Israel. The gas pipeline has been attacked by terrorists at least 14 times since the January 25, 2011 revolution in Egypt which ended in the overthrow of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, ignited by the Arab Spring uprisings.

This past April, Egypt reneged on its agreement to provide natural gas to Israel, a contract that had been worked out as part of the Camp David  Accords that led to the 1978 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty. In the case of Jordan, Egypt is continuing to provide the energy resource, but at a far higher cost, and with numerous disruptions as the terror attacks on the pipeline continue.