Jordan’s top court says gas deal with Israel cannot be terminated

The proposal is “completely inconsistent” with obligations stipulated in the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace agreement, Jordan’s top court said.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

Only King Abdullah II has the legal ability to break the recently signed multibillion-dollar gas deal with Israel, according to Jordan’s Constitutional Court.

The court’s decision came in response to a parliamentary proposal to terminate its natural gas deal with Israel, reported The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

Under Jordan’s constitution, only the king can amend or cancel any ratified international agreements, and in addition, the proposal is “completely inconsistent” with obligations stipulated in the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace agreement, the court said as cited by the Post.

In January, Israel began pumping its first supply of natural gas to Jordan via the Leviathan gas field, off the Israeli coast, under the terms of a $10 billion dollar gas deal agreement with the kingdom.

The Leviathan is the largest natural gas field ever discovered off the coast of Israel, lying some 77 miles west of Haifa. It is estimated to have 22 trillion cubic feet of gas, enough to make the country a gas exporter for the first time in its history, which would bring billions of shekels into state coffers.

However, a few weeks later Jordan’s government was pressured to end the deal after thousands of people took to the streets of Amman in protest.

As a result, a motion was unanimously passed by Jordan’s parliament on Jan. 19 to not only withdraw from the deal but also permanently ban gas imports from Israel.

Even before the gas deal was signed, Jordanians took measures in their own hands by torching two electrical transformers in the country’s northern region intended for the transport of natural gas.

Jordan’s relationship with Israel has been deteriorating ever since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his intention to annex the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea region last year.

Now that Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz have agreed to form a government together, it looks like the prime minister’s promise will soon be delivered.