Hundreds of locals in the Jordanian capital of Amman protested over the weekend a government agreement to import natural gas from Israel, labeling the deal as "normalization" with the Jewish state.
Protesters carried signs calling the gas deal "an occupation of the Jordanian people" and chanted "no to normalization," as well as "the Jordanian people are not for sale."
The demonstrations took place a week after Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz announced that Israel's newly opened Leviathan field is now supplying gas to Jordan.
One protester strongly condemned the Jordanian government for signing the deal and even accused the administration of committing treason.
"The Jordanian government has betrayed the Jordanian people, who oppose this deal," said the protester. "This government stands against the Jordanian people and we must stop this deal, even if the transfer of gas had already begun."
"And thus Israel has become an energy exporter for the first time in its history," Steinitz told Ynet. "It is happening right now at this moment and I am announcing it here for the first time that Israel is becoming a gas exporter to Jordan. We will also start exporting gas to Egypt within a week to 10 days," Steinitz said.
Despite the ourage, however, Israel's Tamar natural gas reservoir has been exporting gas to private Jordanian copmanies, Jordan Bromine and Arab Potash, for the past two years.
Additionally, the leaders of Israel, Greece and Cyprus last week signed a deal in Athens for an undersea pipeline that would carry gas from new offshore deposits in the southeastern Mediterranean to continental Europe.
The 1,900-kilometer (1,300-mile) EastMed pipeline is intended to provide an alternative gas source for energy-hungry Europe, which is largely dependent on supplies from Russia and the Caucasus region.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who attended the signing ceremony with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, said the pipeline will offer Europe "better flexibility and independence in its energy sources."
The pipeline would run from Israel's Levantine Basin offshore gas reserves to Cyprus, the Greek island of Crete and the Greek mainland. An overland pipeline to northwestern Greece and another planned undersea pipeline would carry the gas to Italy.
The project could also accommodate future gas finds in waters off Cyprus and Greece, where exploration is underway.
All three countries committed to protecting the pipeline and work in coordination to ensure the proper transfer of gas to Europe.
The race to claim offshore energy deposits in the southern Mediterranean has created new tensions between Greece and Cyprus, on one side, and historic rival Turkey.
Ankara has raised the stakes with recent moves to explore waters controlled by the two EU member countries. Cyprus and Greece are particularly disturbed because Turkey sent warship-escorted drillships into waters where Cyprus has exclusive economic rights.
First published: 11:19 , 01.05.20