Abdullah II of Jordan
Abdullah II of JordanReuters

The United States government has welcomed the news that Israel and Jordan have agreed to conclude trade agreements that strengthen civilian cooperation between the two countries.

In an official statement, the State Department wrote that the agreement “will support the Palestinian people by allowing increased trade between Jordan and the West Bank.

“These agreements will improve Jordan’s access to fresh water by an additional 50 million cubic meters this year and allow Jordan’s exports to the West Bank to increase from $160 million a year ago to around $700 million,” the State Department noted. “It is these kinds of tangible steps that increase prosperity for all and advance regional stability. We congratulate His Majesty King Abdullah II and Foreign Minister Safadi of Jordan and Prime Minister Bennett and Foreign Minister Lapid of Israel for concluding these deals.”

On Thursday, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi in Jordan, and the two reached agreements on various trade and water issues. The two sides agreed to increase Jordan's export potential to Judea and Samaria to $700 million a year from around $160 million a year, of which $470 million will follow Palestinian Authority trade standards (List A1) and the rest will be in accordance with Israeli trade standards (List B).

The increase will be summed up by the parties in accordance with the Paris Protocol, which constitutes the economic framework for trade between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

On the issue of water, the ministers agreed that Israel will sell Jordan an additional 50 million cubic meters of water this year, and the final details will be completed by the professional teams in the coming days. The agreement is in addition to Prime Minister Bennett's decision that the State of Israel will sell up to 50 million cubic meters to Jordan in the current water year.

Following the meeting, Minister Lapid said: “The Kingdom of Jordan is a neighbor and important partner of the State of Israel. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to hold ongoing talks in order to preserve and strengthen relations. We will expand economic cooperation for the benefit of the two countries. I thank the Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister for advancing the issues. Thank you also to the Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, for supporting the process, to the Minister of Economy, Orna Barbivai, and to the Minister of Energy and Water, Karine Elharrar, for advancing the issues with Jordan.”

In parallel developments, reports are emerging that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held a clandestine meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II recently.

A senior former Israeli official told Walla! on Thursday that Bennett traveled to Amman last week to meet with the Jordanian monarch at the royal palace, and that the meeting was held in a “very positive” atmosphere.

If the reports are true, the meeting would be first between an Israeli premier and the Jordanian king in more than five years. The Prime Minister’s Office has so far refused to comment on the reports.