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UJ students launch anti-normalisation campaign to protest Israel gas deal

By Suzanna Goussous - Oct 09,2016 - Last updated at Oct 09,2016

Protesters chant slogans during a demonstration against a government agreement to import natural gas from Israel, in Amman, on Friday. The placard reads: ‘The enemy’s gas is occupation’ (Reuters photo by Muhammad Hamed)

AMMAN — University of Jordan (UJ) activists on Sunday launched a campaign of anti-normalisation activities to engage students in the political and economic aspects of the recent gas deal with Israel.   

The campaign will use protests, marches, debates, conferences and talks with political figures to raise students’ political awareness, said Anas Hussein, the spokesperson for the Student Coalition for the Cancellation of the Gas Deal. 

“The figures that will be speaking at our events will not belong to one specific party, so we can reach out to a larger number of students and young citizens,” Hussein told The Jordan Times.

He added: “We make up a good percentage of the Jordanian society, which is why we are taking this opportunity to influence and educate the younger generations, starting from the street level and activities held on campus.”

Jordan’s National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) signed a 15-year deal to import gas from Israel in late September, sparking protests across the Kingdom. 

Hussein said the gas deal “will mainly affect students and the youths”, adding that “most students are not aware of the fact that more than 30 per cent of their electricity bills will fund the Zionist entity”.

“Our role as activists in universities is to inform other students who do not have much information about the issue,” he added.

The student campaign, the activist said, brought together students from all blocs and political parties, including the Arab Renewal Bloc, the Nashama list, Al Awda list, Ahl Al Himmeh Bloc, Al Quds Committee and students from independent parties. 

The first activity for the campaign will take place at the UJ on Tuesday, he said.

“It will be a march from all faculties around the university to the clock tower in the centre of campus. We will be organising unconventional events and using all available peaceful methods to spread awareness,” Hussein explained.

Over the past week, students at the UJ and the Jordan University of Science and Technology have organised marches and protests on campus demanding the cancellation of the gas deal. 

On Sunday, activists around the Kingdom turned off all electrical appliances and lights in their homes for an hour for the second time to demonstrate against the agreement, according to members from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in Jordan.

BDS activists also organised a march last week outside NEPCO’s main gate to protest its deal with Israel.

NEPCO officials say the gas deal with Noble Energy would “save Jordan up to $600 million each year”, with around 300 million cubic feet imported by the Kingdom daily.

Noble Energy is a Houston-based company that holds the largest share in the Israeli Leviathan gas field, located in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel.

In recent remarks, Prime Minister Hani Mulki defended the deal, stressing that this is a matter of national interest.

The premier said Jordan needs to diversify its energy sources for national security reasons, and will continue to find new sources.

Mulki, who served as energy minister in previous Cabinets, said gas is currently considered the cheapest source of energy, noting that it will be constituting 40 per cent of the Kingdom’s energy mix in the coming years, dropping gradually as Jordan starts to utilise other sources, including renewable energy.


Government Spokesperson Mohammad Momani has said it is “extremely shallow” to suggest that Jordan supports the Israeli occupation by signing the gas deal, stressing, however, the need to “put matters in perspective”, since Jordan has signed a peace deal with Israel in 1994 and is engaged in trade with it.

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