Jordan, Israel joint business venture ‘chance to enhance economic cooperation’

industrial industry  factory
(Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN — Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s statement on Sunday about an envisaged joint Jordanian-Israeli industrial zone, dubbed the Jordan Gate project, was received with mixed reviews by pundits interviewed by Jordan News.اضافة اعلان

Some see it as as an excellent opportunity to revive the economy and reduce the unemployment rate, especially given the country’s current economic conditions, while others disprove of the idea, seeing in it an opportunity for Israel to weaken Jordan’s political position.

Political analyst Labeeb Qamhawi views “talking about joint strategic projects with Israel (as) extremely dangerous”, as implementing them, “puts the situation in the hands of the Israeli side”, so “there is no interest for Jordan to enter into this scheme.”

“Why should we cooperate with Jordan’s enemy, Israel,” he asked, stressing that this would “be a victory for the Israeli side, especially since it is the stronger party financially and militarily.”

“I believe that creating more projects means more weakness,” he added.

According to geopolitical expert Amer Al-Sabaileh, “this step is an effort to activate the economy” that “will benefit both parties”.

“Since the exit of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, Jordan has been trying to maximize its relationship with the current Israeli government,” he added.

Sabaileh believes that “diversifying the countries that Jordan intends to establish projects with means that Jordan is trying to keep pace with developments, especially in light of the difficult economic conditions the Kingdom is witnessing.”

He noted that “this step is a clear translation of an attempt to advance the relationship and complement agreements such as the energy-for-water” letter of intent.

Sabaileh fails to see such steps as weakening Jordan’s position: “At the end of the day, this is a purely economic step, similar to projects and agreements concluded with other countries in order to revive the national economy.”

“Jordan also aims, through such a project, to activate its borders, and therefore this is not weakening, but rather benefiting,” he added.

Political expert Hassan Al-Momani told Jordan News that “some articles in previous treaties between Jordan and Israel talked about economic and security cooperation”.

“I do not think that there is anything new in this, especially since there is an intention to advance economic cooperation, especially with the existence of a tripartite agreement that brings together Jordan, Israel, and the UAE in the energy-for-water agreement,” he said.

Following Lapid’s recent visit to Jordan, he said, a statement was issued showing that the peace process and cooperation were discussed in an economic context.

According to Momani, “the Israelis took it upon themselves to talk about this project, as an Israeli minister announced recently that as a result of this cooperation, 10,000 Jordanian workers will be employed.”

“The absence of peace between Israel and Palestine has hampered many projects and ambitions,” he said, adding that “my own expectation is that there will be economic cooperation in the future.”

“The Palestinian side might be involved in future cooperation,” he said, adding: “The peace process needs to strengthen economic cooperation, as a state of mutual dependence enhances the peace process.”

He stressed that a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem is important, and it could be found “through the resumption of meaningful negotiations that lead to tangible solutions”, especially regarding two states living side by side in peace.

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