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Sabra Express | Good COP, Bad COP

Israel, Jordan Advance Deal to Swap Desalinated Water for Solar Energy

Sharon Udasin, The Hill, November 8th 2022


Recap:

Project Prosperity will facilitate a swap of Israeli desalinated water for Jordanian-generated solar energy. The deal will quench the thirst of water-starved Jordan and break Israel’s regional energy isolation.


The Context:

· For nearly three decades the United Nations has been bringing together almost every country on earth for global climate summits – called COPs – which stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’. The Israeli-Jordanian memorandum of understanding was signed at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt at an event hosted by the United Arab Emirates, the first Gulf state to normalize relations with Israel [1].

· The deal stands to include a solar energy facility in Jordan capable of generating 600 megawatts annually for Israeli purchase. In exchange, Israel would agree to sell 200 million cubic meters of desalinated water each year to Jordan. Israeli Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg praised the deal saying, “no country can stand alone in the face of climate crisis”. Zandberg is set to leave her post after her party failed to win enough votes to join Israel’s new parliament. The incoming coalition is Israel's most right-wing government ever [2].

· The Israeli delegation, led by President Isaac Herzog, opened Israel's pavilion at the conference, showcasing Israel's technological ability to maximize the few natural resources it possesses [3]. During the session, a group of 220 scientists, 12 of them Israeli, mapped the effects of climate change in the region [4]. While observers highlighted Israel’s presence alongside enemies like Lebanon and Iraq as a sign of normalization, Arab countries were quick to report that "there was no contact whatsoever with any Israeli official [5]."


Conversation Points:

· Can countries combat climate change without cross-border cooperation? What does that mean for Israel and its neighbors?

· Will Israel’s next government continue to prioritize the previous administration’s policies?

· Why is the Middle East vulnerable to climate change?


Notes:

1. Israel and Jordan move forward with water-for-energy deal, Reuters, November 7, 2022

2. Israeli, Lebanese leaders vow to cooperate at climate summit, TIA GOLDENBERG November 8, 2022,

3. Israeli COP27 delegation arrives in Egypt to showcase Israeli climate-tech, ZACHY HENNESSEY, Jerusalem Post, NOVEMBER 8, 2022

4. Israel joins Mideast nations, including Iraq, Lebanon, to agree on climate action, Times of Israel, SUE SURKES 8 November 2022

5. COP27 | Israeli, Iraqi, Lebanese, Palestinian Leaders Agree on Climate Cooperation in Rare Meeting, Lee Yaron, Haaretz, November 8th, 2022


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