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Jordan's parliament votes to end Israeli gas imports amid popular anger

It is unclear whether the government will approve the motion to halt the imports which began earlier this month
Jordanians protest in Amman on 3 January against the government's decision to import natural gas from Israel (AFP)

Jordan's parliament voted on Sunday in favour of repealing an agreement to import gas from Israel amid popular protests against the $10bn deal that came into effect earlier this month.

"The majority has voted to send an urgent motion to the government" requesting a new law to ban Israeli gas imports to Jordan, Parliament Speaker Atef Tarawneh said during the live session, which was also broadcast on Facebook.

The vote comes after hundreds of Jordanians protested on Friday, for the second week in a row, calling for an end to the gas deal with Israel, which they consider an enemy.

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Jordanian protesters previously told Middle East Eye that they refuse to light their country’s streets with gas "stolen from occupied Palestine".

Jordan had for years received natural gas from Egypt, but the supply was severely disrupted due to regular attacks on pipelines by militants in the restive Sinai peninsula. 

On 1 January, according to the terms of the deal between Jordan's state-run National Electricity Company (NEPCO), Texas-based Noble Energy and other partners, gas from the offshore Leviathan field first started to be pumped into Jordan for an experimental three-month period.

According to the agreement, Jordan will be supplied with gas from the field for 15 years.

Sunday's motion has been sent to the government for its approval, and must be sent back to parliament for ratification. It was unclear whether the government would back the motion.

The government has said the deal will secure stable energy prices for the energy-dependent country for the next decade and could help reduce its chronic budget deficit, potentially saving Jordan at least $500m annually.

Last month, 58 MPs out of 130 requested an "urgent" draft law be formulated that scrapped the gas deal, but an MP told MEE that the proposal was deliberately buried.