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Jordanians Protest Imports from Israel, But Amman May Import Gas

Jordanians called on the Amman government to ban imports from Israel, possibly not knowing talks are proceeding over import of natural gas.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 6/30/2013, 1:35 PM

Jordanian MP Khalil Atiyeh burns Israeli flag inside parliament
Jordanian MP Khalil Atiyeh burns Israeli flag inside parliament
AFP file

Jordanians in Amman have been protesting against imports from Israel, but may not be aware their government has quietly been discussing the option of taking on another new import as well: the purchase of Israeli natural gas.

Protesters in Jordan gathered in Amman’s central vegetable market on Saturday calling on the government to ban imports from Israel.

The Jordanian Higher Committee to Protect the Homeland and Resist Normalization had organized the demonstration, gathering activists and members of professional associations and political parties.

The protesters called on authorities to ban Israeli imports and urged Jordanian citizens not to buy any Israeli products.

Amman MP Khalil Atiyeh this week submitted a query to Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, requesting information about the volume of trade between Jordan and Israel since the signing of the 1994 Wadi Arava Peace Treaty.

It is not clear what motivation drove the query, but recently Atiyeh burned an Israeli flag inside the Jordanian Parliament, AFP reported.

While the Jewish State may still be considered an enemy to many in the Hashemite Kingdom, its government nevertheless has been holding talks to become the first to purchase natural gas from Israel, the Wall Street Journal reported last week.

Last week the Cabinet approved a plan to export up to 40 percent of new energy reserves discovered beneath the Mediterranean Sea off the Israeli coastline. Two years of constant interruptions and outages on the Egyptian natural gas pipeline to Jordan via the Sinai Peninsula due to terrorism has made the resource expensive and unreliable.