By Suzanna Goussous – Mar 25,2017
AMMAN — Almost six months after the state-owned electricity company signed the gas deal with Israel, activists are still taking to the streets and protesting normalisation with Israel “on all levels”.
Following the 49th anniversary of the Karamah Battle, protestors on Friday organised a march to denounce the gas deal between Jordan and Israel, where they chanted: “Our dignity can only be regained when the gas deal is cancelled.”
On March 21, 1968, Jordanian soldiers repelled an Israeli attack on the small Karamah town in the Jordan Valley, whose name means “dignity”.
Jordan’s National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) signed a gas deal with Noble Energy, which will “cover up to 40 per cent of Jordan’s electricity needs”, officials previously told The Jordan Times.
Noble Energy owns 39 per cent of the Leviathan natural gas field in Israel.
Activist Mohammad Salem said the protest held in downtown Amman meant to celebrate the Karamah Battle by “rejecting the 15-year gas deal with the Zionists”.
“We are paying $10 billion to a government that has occupied our land, killed and is killing our children. Only to approve of their project to occupy and control, to give them our land on a silver platter,” Mohammad Absi, head of the anti-normalisation campaign, said.
He added: “The future of Jordan’s security is in the hands of occupiers, war criminals, how can we offer our dignity, security and safety in exchange for stolen gas?”
The government signed the Wadi Araba peace treaty with Israel in 1994, after the Palestinian president Yaser Arafat signed the Oslo Agreement in 1993. Jordan has been engaged in trade with Israel since.
Activists questioned the reasons behind signing the deal, advancing alternatives such as solar energy or renewable methods available in different parts of the Kingdom, “given that the investment in local businesses to generate energy would benefit Jordan’s economy more”.
During the protest, advocates stressed their rejection of the recently-signed deal between the Jordan Potash Company and Israel to import gas worth of $500 million, “while the investment would have been more beneficial to local solar, wind, oil shale projects, and developing already-present gas fields”.
The Jordanian Campaign Against the Gas Agreement with the Zionists said in a statement that the protestors, from different backgrounds, whether political, economic, or religious, took to the streets all together to “regain the dignity of Jordanians”.
The statement said the dignity of the public would be regained by demanding the cancellation of the deal, of all forms of trade exchange and of the Wadi Araba Peace Treaty.
Officials have previously commented on the gas deal explaining that it would be a “matter of national interest” and that it would “achieve an annual surplus for the company exceeding $300 million”.