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LANDMARK WATER DEAL ACTS AS CATALYST IN IMPROVING ISRAEL-JORDAN RELATIONS

Jordan drought

On 4 September, Israeli President Isaac Herzog met with Jordan’s King Abdullah to continue discussions on how the two nations can work together to improve economic and political relations, building on the landmark water agreement signed on 8 July by Israel and Jordan’s foreign ministers.  This agreement will see Israel almost double its water sales to Jordan, signalling an improvement in relations between the two countries that have faced growing tensions in the last couple of years. Following the release of the United Nations (UN) climate change report in August, discussions about scarce water availability in Jordan, one of the world’s most water-deficient nations, have become even more critical. The water deal will increase the amount of water Israel will sell to Jordan from 30 million cubic metres to 50 million by May 2022. Gidon Bromberg, the Israeli director for EcoPeace Middle East, spoke to Al Jazeera about the agreement’s importance: “It represents an understanding of mutual interests and how countries in the region need to cooperate if we are to survive the tremendous challenges to water and national security that the climate crisis presents.” In return for the water, Jordan will sell Israel solar power – helping Israel to meet its 2015 climate accord goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 85% – as well as increase its exports to the West Bank from $160 million per year to $700 million. Topics discussed at the most recent meeting included agricultural trade, energy, sustainability, and potential solutions to climate issues.

FROM A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE

ISRAEL’S POPULATION: ± 8.7 MILLION CHRISTIAN: 1.73%
EVANGELICAL: 0.69%
UNREACHED GROUPS: 38 (97% of pop.)
JORDAN’S POPULATION: ± 10.2 MILLION CHRISTIAN: 2.28%
EVANGELICAL: 0.27%
UNREACHED GROUPS: 13 (93.2% of pop.)

The agreement between Israel and Jordan is a positive step towards peace and cooperation, not only between the two nations but also within the wider Middle East region. Access to water is predicted to be a major factor in global conflict in the next several years as climate change continues to affect several nations, especially in the typically dry Middle East. “Water wars” are predicted to become more common as nations try to secure enough natural resources to care for their populations, however, deals like the one made between Israel and Jordan offer a way of compromise and act as an example for other countries to follow. “Water is a resource that allows adversaries to actually find ways to cooperate,” said Erika Weinthal, an expert in global environmental politics. The Church can celebrate a newfound willingness for these strategic nations to come to the table and discuss peaceful resolutions to regional issues. Both Israel and Jordan are home to very small Christian populations, and a majority of their people lack knowledge of the true “living water” that is found in Christ (John 4). The Church can pray for more opportunities for believers in these nations to share the hope of Jesus with unbelievers, offering them a drink from the spring that will never run dry (Isaiah 58).

Please pray with us for the following:

  • For continued cooperation between Israel and Jordan and for peace-building conversations to flourish
  • For the global Church to continue to pray for brothers and sisters in the Middle East facing a variety of hardships
  • For local churches in Israel and Jordan to reach out to their non-believing neighbours with the message of Christ

 

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Image: REUTERS/Reuters TV screengrab

 

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