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.
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”.
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.