Water for sun: A massive energy-swap deal is expected to be signed next week between Jordan, Israel and the United Arab Emirates, according to a news report from Axios.
The deal includes a massive solar plant to be built in the Jordanian desert that will generate power for Israel in exchange for a desalination plant in Israel that will provide Jordan with water. The solar plant will be built by a UAE company.
In a region where water is scarce but sun comes in abundance, the deal harnesses a primary natural resource of the Middle East. While both Jordan and Israel are arid nations, Israel has developed desalination plants that provide about 80% of the country’s drinkable water. Thus, Jordan has the land for solar farms and Israel has the technological knowhow to produce water.
Just last month, Israel signed a deal with Jordan to double the amount of water it provides to its neighboring country.
According to the Axios report, which cites five Israeli officials, former U.S. Secretary of State and now “climate envoy” John Kerry pushed for the deal to happen and plans to be on hand for the signing next week in Dubai.
Israel’s Energy Minister Karine Elharrar, Jordanian Water Minister Mohammed Al-Najjar and Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the UAE special envoy on climate change, are all expected to be present.
It is becoming apparent that Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett did well to repair the Jewish state’s relations with Jordan. A chasm had grown between the neighboring countries under former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu despite a 25-year-old peace agreement between the two countries.
In July, Bennett met with King Abdullah in secret at his palace in Amman, the first time the countries’ leaders met in more than three years. Bennett’s meeting with Abdullah was preceded by visits to Amman by both Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid who paved the way in repairing the national breach.
The Abraham Accords, first signed between Israel the UAE and Bahrain in September 2020, served to widen the circle of peace between Israel and now six Muslim nations causing a shift in Middle Eastern alliances and creating lucrative opportunities for economic cooperation between these countries.