In 2016, after five years of U.S.-brokered negotiations, Jerusalem and Amman concluded an agreement to build a pipeline that would bring natural gas from Israel’s coastal waters to Jordanian power plants. The deal is mutually beneficial, and construction is expected to be completed next year. But many Jordanian parliamentarians have condemned it; most recently, one called on his colleagues “to sacrifice their lives and their children’s lives in order to blow up” the pipeline. Edy Cohen comments:
Despite the peace treaty and two-and-a-half decades of diplomatic relations, many in Jordan continue to regard Israel as an illegitimate enemy state. The government is playing a double game: its public hostility toward Israel enables it to preserve its popularity while, behind the scenes, it maintains good relations with Israel. These covert relations are intended among other things to please the [U.S.] and to ensure the supply of water and other resources.
Thus, despite the fiery rhetoric, the Jordanian government behaves rationally. It is in no hurry to make declarations that would lead to the canceling of the deal, which is vital to the kingdom. [But] King Abdullah has yet to make a statement on the issue. At the end of April the Jordanian media reported that the monarch had been given a report analyzing the gas deal with Israel and the ramifications of continuing or freezing it.
It is unlikely Jordan will back out of the deal. Whether Abdullah will publicly affirm the importance of his country’s alliance with Israel is another matter entirely.