Israel to increase water supply to Jordan

The two countries reached agreements on water and trade on Thursday

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaks during a press conference with his French counterpart in Amman on August 2, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI
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Israel and Jordan reached agreements on water supply and trade during a meeting between Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid on Thursday.

Tel Aviv has agreed to increase its water supply to Jordan, promising up to 50 cubic metres of water to be delivered this year, Mr Lapid said on Thursday.

The meeting at the King Hussein Bridge between Jordan and the West Bank was the first high-level talks Jordan has held with Israel's new government.

The talks come after years of limited diplomatic contact due to strained relations between Jordan and former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

An agreement reached on trade will raise the ceiling on Jordanian exports to the West Bank from $160 million annually to around $700m, including $470m to be put towards “products that meet Palestinian standards".

The two ministers also discussed transport and energy issues. The terms of the agreements will be finalised in the coming days.

“The kingdom of Jordan is a neighbour and important partner to the state of Israel,” said Mr Lapid.

Israel and Jordan made peace in 1994 and maintain close security ties, but relations have been strained in recent years due to Israel’s expansion of Jewish settlements and crackdowns on Palestinian dissent.

During the meeting, the ministers discussed the issue of Palestine, with Mr Safadi urging Israel to find a political solution to end the occupation and move towards a two-state solution that both nations agree on, a statement released by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry said.

Mr Safadi said it would be a “war crime” for Israel to displace the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, and stressed the importance of respecting the historic and legal status of the Haram Al Sharif, Islam's third holiest site.

Both of these issues were flashpoints that led to an 11-day war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas in May.

Jordan's foreign minister called on Israel to halt all illegitimate actions that are obstructing the possibility of reaching a two-state solution.

The Israeli Army on Thursday demolished the West Bank family home of a Palestinian-American accused of a deadly shooting. The demolition drew a rebuke from the US, which criticised Israel's policy of razing the homes of those it accuses of carrying out attacks against it.

Updated: July 08, 2021, 4:24 PM