Israel approves Jordan’s additional water request

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AMMAN — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved Jordan’s request for additional water rations after weeks of delay, Israeli media announced on Tuesday. اضافة اعلان

According to The Times of Israel, the approval comes after “top Israeli officials and President Biden administration” intervened. 

Haaretz reported that Netanyahu “accepted Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz’s recommendation to agree to the Jordanian request.”

Jordan had requested an additional 8 million cubic meters of water from Israel last month, on top of its share under the peace treaty between the two countries, but the approval was delayed, with reports claiming the approval is being held back for political reasons.   

Munther Haddadin, a senior negotiator during the Israeli-Jordanian peace talks in 1994, told Jordan News at the time that the delay is “not an Israel-Jordan problem, but a Netanyahu-Jordan problem. I am not surprised, Netanyahu has been belligerent towards Jordan … This has to do with his political survival.”

Former diplomats weigh that the relationship between the Israeli Premier and Jordan has reached an “all-time low”, resulting in a delay of what used to be considered as “a smooth process”. 

Former minister of foreign affairs Jawad Anani noted that this is a “sequel in an already hostile scene. The Israeli PM has spared no chance to provoke Jordan ... this could be related to a potential fifth round of elections where he needs to gain as many votes from the Israeli far right as possible.”

Jordan received an estimated 5,185.8 million cubic meters of rainwater this season, representing only 63.3 percent of the Kingdom’s annual average rainfall, according to Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammad Najjar.

“Jordan faced limited rainfall during the 2021 season, bearing in mind that we are one of the most water scarce countries in the world,” the minister told Jordan News.

As the winter season nears its end, dams across the Kingdom are holding around 146 million cubic meters of water, representing 43.4 percent of their total capacity. This relatively dry winter is expected to add strain on the Kingdom’s water sector and impact agricultural production.