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Climate crisis: A change agent? A warmer peace is better for Jordan and Israel.

Climate crisis: A change agent? A warmer peace is better for Jordan and Israel.

Jordan is facing a drought-driven water crisis but has one the highest solar radiation rates and a burgeoning sector of renewable energy. Israel, whose water resources are better due to its desalination skills, is increasing its water exports to Jordan by doubling.

Relationships between Israel and Jordan are being thawed due to U.S.-Israeli leadership changes. The climate crisis is bringing them closer together, allowing for cooperation in areas such as water, food security, and trade. It has been a dramatic turnaround: From four years of no contact between leaders to three major agreements in two months.

This is Why We Did It

The Israel-Jordan relationship was rekindled by the departure of Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister. The climate crisis and its focus on renewable energy and water is giving the countries something to discuss.

Despite the limitations of the Israeli-Palestinian war, pragmatism is arguing for daily cooperation as a foundation for understanding the other and interdependence. Officials from both countries hope that these new bridges could convince Israelis and Jordanians that their future is shared.

“We support the Palestinian people, we reject the occupation, and we are wary whether the Israeli government honors its agreement,” says Osama, a Jordanian farmer struggling with the drought. “But if we can cooperate in good faith as equals in a way that is not at the expense of the Palestinians,” he adds, “then let’s try to be good neighbors.”

Amman, Jordan; Tel Aviv (Israel)

Osama’s rainwater-fed olives hang partly shriveled on their branches.

The dam that he relies on to water his cucumber and tomato farms has run dry. He is now forced to haul in water every other week.

His house is near the northern Jordanian town of Irbid and receives water at least once a month.

Why We Wrote This

The thawing of Israel-Jordan relations was helped by Benjamin Netanyahu’s departure as prime minister. The countries have something to talk about, however, with the focus on climate change and renewable energy.

And yet, even as Jordan struggles with a water and economic crisis fed by what the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization is calling the worst drought in decades, Osama’s water supply will continue, thanks to the kingdom’s new agreement with Israel.

Recent leadership changes in Israel as well as the United States are thawing relations with Israel and Jordan. They are getting closer because of the climate crisis. It’s unlocking cooperation in areas from water to food security and trade between neighbors whose peace accord has so far largely failed to translate into tangible benefits for their citizens.


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