Jordanians protest against agreement to import natural gas from Israel
Jordanians protest against agreement to import natural gas from Israel Reuters

Hundreds of Jordanians demonstrated in downtown Amman on Friday, calling on the government to cancel an agreement in which Israel began pumping natural gas to the kingdom this year, The Associated Press.

Jordanian security forces prevented the protesters from reaching symbolic Al-Nakheel Square in the capital, where the turnout had been expected to grow larger.

Dozens of police formed lines to prevent protesters from marching. The demonstrators chanted anti-Israel slogans and held banners reading, “The gas of the enemy is an occupation!” and “Down with the gas deal”, according to AP.

The Jordanian flag-waving protesters also threatened to overthrow the government if it sticks by the gas deal.

Earlier this month, Jordan’s National Electric Power Co., said gas pumping had started as part of a multi-billion-dollar deal with Texas-based Noble Energy aimed at lowering the cost of power in the energy-poor kingdom.

Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek Group are, among others, partners in the newly operational Leviathan gas field off Israel’s Mediterranean coast.

Israel has been exporting natural gas to Jordan since 2017.

Jordan is one of only two Arab countries, along with Egypt, to have a peace deal with Israel. However, many Jordanians still see Israel as an enemy and often meet steps toward normalization with great public backlash.

In addition, the country’s parliament, which is made up mostly of Islamists, remains anti-Israel and its members have more than once called to annul the peace treaty.

In 2017, the Jordanian parliament approved a proposal to establish a committee to reevaluate all formal ties with Israel, including the peace agreement.

Last March, a group of Jordanian lawmakers called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador from the kingdom in response to what they termed "ongoing Israel aggression" at holy sites in Jerusalem.

And, in August, Jordan's parliament recommended the country expel Israel's ambassador, recall the Jordanian ambassador to Israel, and re-examine the peace agreement between the two countries.

When the gas deal was signed in 2016, it was not reviewed by Jordan’s lower house of Parliament, noted AP. Last year, that body issued a non-binding resolution against the agreement.

A parliament session is planned for Sunday to submit an urgent memo requesting a ban on gas purchases from Israel.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)