The Jordan, Israel, and UAE Water-for-energy Deal
Potential and Pitfalls of Energy and Water Sharing Agreements in the Middle East | By: Hutuf Mansour, Alexander Reiffenstuel
The MENA Europe Future Energy Dialogue Conference in Jordan in June 2022 highlighted the regional significance of advancing regional cooperation to collectively counter the impacts of climate change and safeguard cross-boundary interests. However, such collaboration must be mutual-beneficial and inclusive by benefiting all involved actors to prevent further regional instability. The trilateral water-for-energy deal between Jordan, Israel, and the UAE, which sees the trade of solar energy produced in Jordan for desalinated water from Israel, illustrates how an imbalanced agreement could risk cementing regional power inequities and thus undermining stability in the long run. Nonetheless, this deal is an opportunity
to diversify Jordan’s water sources and secure water access in the long term. After all, energy and water-sharing agreements in the Middle East can create important interdependencies and advance equal distribution of scarce resources, crossborder prosperity, and stabilize economies. Still, with the abstaining of the Palestinian Authority, the deal could risk reinforcing regional disparities between Palestine and Israel. Therefore, Jordan should engage in bilateral talks with the Palestinian Authority and ensure that no energy from Jordan is delivered to illegal settlements while simultaneously providing more energy and water to the Palestinian territories. Such enhancements would reduce Palestinian energy
dependency on Israel, ensure domestic support in Jordan, benefit Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians alike and ideally open new channels of communication for regional conflict mediation efforts.