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Majority of Jordanians oppose gas deal with Israel — survey

Poll finds 66.5 per cent of respondents want agreement to be scrapped

By JT - Feb 05,2020 - Last updated at Feb 05,2020

Activists protest in Amman in March 2019 against the gas deal with Israel (Photo courtesy of Al Rai)

AMMAN — The majority of Jordanians support scrapping the gas deal with Israel, a recent opinion poll has shown. 

The poll, conducted by the University of Jordan's Centre for Strategic Studies from January 21-25, surveyed a representative sample of Jordanian society from all governorates, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported on Wednesday. 

The poll revealed that 66.5 per cent of respondents want the deal to be scrapped, while 14 per cent oppose scrapping and 19.5 per cent say they have "no idea" about the agreement.

Data from the poll showed that 77 per cent of the respondents know about the public protests against the gas deal, while 67 per cent are aware of the Lower House's recent deliberations over the deal and 52 per cent are familiar with the Lower House's decision to "refer the Legal Committee's decision related to importing gas from Israel" to the government for forming a draft law.  

In September 2016, Jordan’s National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) signed a 15-year agreement with Noble Energy, a Houston-based company that holds the largest share in the Israeli Leviathan Gas Field, to purchase $10 billion worth of natural gas.

Under the deal, Jordan will receive 3 billion cubic metres of gas per year.

NEPCO made an announcement in early January that experimental pumping of gas is scheduled to commence in early 2020 for three months, with the aim of testing the readiness of the infrastructure before the start of actual pumping, Petra reported at the time.

In a majority vote, the Lower House in Januray passed a draft law that bans the import of Israeli gas to the Kingdom, proposed by the Chamber’s Legal Committee. 

MPs approved referring the bill to the government as a matter of urgency. During a special session on the subject last March, the House declared its “utter rejection” of the gas deal, and requested that the agreement be “cancelled at all costs”.

At the time, House Speaker Atef Tarawneh said that “the deal is completely rejected and we demand it is cancelled at any cost”. 

MPs called on the government to look for alternative energy resources from Arab states, arguing that the gas deal threatens Jordan’s energy security and serves the Israeli occupation’s economy.

Other deputies called for legal action against the government that signed the gas deal with Israel.

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