Israel, Jordan sign deal to build solar power plant, water from UAE

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Israel, Jordan sign deal to build solar power plant, water from UAE

Israel and Jordan have signed a cooperation agreement to build a major solar power plant in Jordan that will generate electricity for the Jewish state, while a desalination plant in Israel will send fresh water to Jordan.

The agreement was brokered by the United Arab Emirates UAE, which hosted a signing ceremony at Expo 2020 Dubai with the participation of Emirates Development Bank chairman Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber and the U.S. The agreement was first discussed in September, at a meeting between Energy Minister Karine Elharrar and Mohamed Al Khaja, UAE Ambassador to Israel.

Jordan will get water from an Israeli plant along the Mediterranean coast, while Israel will receive solar power from the Jordan-based facility, built by an Emirati firm.

The agreement was the latest result of the Abraham Peace Accords signed by Israel and the UAE last year, which was brokered by the Trump administration.

The Biden administration pledged to support related agreements, despite the fact that the accords are not a replacement for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Elharrar met with Jordan Water and Irrigation Minister Mohammed Al-Najjar last month to sign a separate agreement to double the amount of water Israel supplies to Jordan.

Elharrar said the agreement was the most significant since the former enemies signed a peace treaty in 1994.

Jordan, which has publicly downplayed its ties with Israel for many years, has not commented on the agreement.

Jordan is one of the world's most water-deficient countries, while Israel is hot and dry, but its advanced desalination technology has created opportunities for selling water.

The feasibility studies for the project will begin next year.

The Israel-Jordan agreement should have been signed at the beginning of the month during the COP 26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, but Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett delayed the announcement due to concerns that the deal would be criticized by the political opposition, according to Walla news site.