The two countries have also agreed to increase Jordan's export capacity to the West Bank from $160 million a year to around $700 million

Israel and Jordan reach an agreement on water sales


Cooperation on water resources between Israel and Jordan has been a vital issue in the relationship between the two countries since the 1994 peace agreement. Jordan is one of the driest countries in the world and this situation is expected to worsen due to climate change. For this reason, the Hashemite kingdom relies heavily on water resources from its neighbouring country.

Although the relationship between the two countries is not the most desirable, both maintain close security ties, but over the past few years Israel-Jordan relations have declined dramatically. The administration of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has contributed to strained relations with Jordan on many occasions. Israel's new coalition government of Naftali Bennet and Yair Lapid seeks stronger ties with the Hashemite kingdom, unlike Netanyahu, and its first initiative has been to reach a new agreement on the sale of an additional 50 million cubic metres of water to Jordan.


According to Walla News, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet and Jordan's King Abdullah II met in secret last week, the first summit between the two countries' leaders in more than three years. Bennet travelled to Amman on Tuesday to discuss the country's water shortages and possible Israeli aid with the Jordanian leader. After the first contact between the leaders of the two countries, the Israeli and Jordanian foreign ministers, Yair Lapid and Ayman Safadi, met yesterday at the Jordanian border where they finally approved Israel's sale of 50 million cubic metres of water to its neighbour.

During the meeting, the two countries also agreed to increase Jordan's export capacity to the West Bank from $160 million a year to around $700 million. After the meeting, Yair Lapid noted that "the Kingdom of Jordan is an important neighbour and partner of the State of Israel", marking a shift in the rhetoric of the new Israeli administration from former prime minister Netanyahu's rhetoric. "The Foreign Ministry will continue to hold talks to preserve and strengthen relations. We will expand economic cooperation for the benefit of both countries," Lapid added.


Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi called on Jordan to make "renewed efforts" to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to halt "illegal" measures that undermine such efforts. Israeli Jordanian relations are not at their best, although this water deal may prove to be a turning point. Tensions came to a head earlier this year when the Israeli authorities cancelled Jordanian Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah's visit to the Al Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem.

In response, Amman denied former Israeli prime minister Netanyahu access to Jordanian airspace for his helicopter, prompting the prime minister to cancel his trip to the United Arab Emirates. Similarly, in April, Israel delayed a request to increase water supplies to Jordan, apparently in retaliation for Jordan's interference in Netanyahu's plans to travel to Abu Dhabi.


The arrival of a new, apparently more moderate government in Israel may help improve relations with its neighbouring country. The fact that the two countries were finally able to reach an agreement on the sale of water confirms this trend, as does the meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Benet and King Abdullah II, the Jordanian monarch's first meeting with an Israeli prime minister since he received Benjamin Netanyahu in 2018.