Opinion

The 15 billion dollar deal that will make or break Israel’s regional hegemony

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In the past week, international efforts have grown to prevent an Israeli-Jordanian gas deal. Jordan BDS has called upon its counterparts in the international boycott movement to stand against the deal, and on Friday, February 20th activists in Denver, London and South Africa took to the streets to join the call to action. If it goes through, the gas deal will increase Israeli dominance in the region by controlling the energy supply to bordering countries, and undermine the growing BDS movement.

The Jordan-Israel gas deal

In September 2014, Jordan’s National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) signed a letter of intent with US company Noble Energy to import natural gas from the Leviathan field, located in the Mediterranean off the shores of Haifa. The Leviathan field, the largest offshore gas field found in the last decade, is co-owned between US-based Noble Energy, with only 39% shareholding of the field, and a consortium of three Israeli companies namely Delek Drilling, Avner Oil and Ratio Oil, owning majority shares in the Leviathan.

Israel is attempting to expand its hegemony in the region through energy as one of its many reactions in the face of its declining economy and worldwide boycott efforts. Israel’s plan to export natural gas from the Leviathan to Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority could not only mean an economic boom, but in the in the opinion of activists and boycott proponents “would also massively undermine our collective efforts to isolate Israel.”

A possible Israeli deal with the Palestinian Authority comes as Palestinians are being prohibited from extracting their own natural resources. In response, the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC) held a press conference on Tuesday 17th of Feb. calling upon the PA to cancel the letter of intent it has signed with Noble and the consortium of Israeli companies to import natural gas from the Israeli-controlled gas field.

The proposed natural gas deals comes in the aftermath of Israel’s atrocious attack on Gaza, which killed over 2,100 Palestinians. It is priced at $15 billion, of which $8.4 billion will go directly to the Israeli treasury that sustains occupation and apartheid and funds Israeli terror operations and atrocities.

Global protests against the deal

Since September, a Jordanian coalition against importing gas from Israel has been formed and the fierce popular opposition in Jordan, which is increasing by the day, managed to postpone the signing of the deal. Furthermore, the Jordanian Parliament voted by an overwhelming majority against the proposed deal and demanded the Jordanian government to cancel the letter of intent signed in September.

For about 5 months Jordanian activists have been fighting the proposed natural gas deal that is intended to put Jordan’s economic and political stability at the whim of Israel.

Denver protest flier
Denver protest flier

If the agreement is finalized not only will Jordan’s independence be threatened but also it will seriously undermine the successes that the boycott movement has achieved internationally in isolating Israel.

Last Friday, Coloradans for Justice in Palestine (CJP) held a protest outside the headquarters of Noble Energy in Denver. Activists in Colorado believe that this must be one of many actions to follow given Noble Energy’s gross complicity in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

On the same day, South Africa BDS organised an initial symbolic protest with a larger one expected to follow this week. Organizers say the protest is “in solidarity with our Palestinian and Jordanian comrades calling on the Jordanian Government not to sign the Israeli Gas Deal” emphasising their “trust that the Jordanian Government will heed the call made by the Jordanian people”.

Protest in South Africa
Protest in South Africa

Simultaneously, Embassy staff in London were not able to start work as usual on Friday due to a picketers outside the Jordanian Embassy calling upon stopping the Israel-Jordan gas deal. The protest was organised by London Palestine Action in solidarity with the Jordanian activists opposing their country into bankrolling the Israeli war machine with billions of dollars.

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I understand the urge to blow something like this up beyond proportion and claim it will “make or break” Israel’s hegemony. It won’t. Israel’s gas deals will help it, but this gas will come online very slowly and the amount that Israel will be able to (realistically) export is quite modest, even if it will be a revenue stream for a long time. Just to bring things into perspective. Israel’s defence budget in a single… Read more »

With the gas in Qatar and with all the gas in Iraq and the about to be mined gas in Lebanon and Gaza and possibly on the West Bank, Jordan could find no better source of gas than Israel???

Something not kosher about this deal.

Awesome! I hope the deal works out between Israel and Jordan!

If Walid is right, this deal does smack of a way to give Israel CONTROL over PA, Jordan, and Egypt. I’m not convinced that Israel even OWNS the gas: until Israel’s territory is finally established, its coast-line is not known (for sure) and I believe that “ownership” of off-shore resources goes by coast-line, not by biggest guns. If my argument has merit, it would be a good point for PA and Lebanon to make, and… Read more »

It’s not a matter of dependence on Israel – it’s a matter of avoiding co-operation at all costs to maintain the pressure on Israel. Instead of opening up the region to new economic development, which can only benefit all participants, these poisonous efforts aim to fight any normalization of relations with Israel. This kind of negativity will only help to prolong the conflict. It seems like the PA would prefer their own people to wallow… Read more »