Thousands protest against Jordan-Israel solar power deal following detention of students
Thousands of Jordanians attended a demonstration in Amman on Friday in protest against a planned solar power deal with Israel, days after 36 students were detained for attending a similar demonstration.
The protest march began at the Grand Husseini Mosque in the Jordanian capital amid a heavy security presence.
The protesters chanted slogans in support of Palestine and against Jordan’s 1994 Wadi Araba peace agreement with Israel.
They denounced the new deal with Israel as “treason”. Similar protests broke out in other Jordanian cities.
Under the deal, Jordan will supply power to Israel from a solar farm that the UAE will build in southern Jordan.
In return, Israel will supply Jordan with 200 million cubic metres of desalinated water. Jordan is currently the second-most water scarce country in the world.
Khaled al-Jehani, a protester whose son was detained for attending an earlier protest against the deal told the Arabic news website Arabi 21, “We are here today for the sovereignty of Jordan and its independence and against this agreement which is the bastard child of the Wadi Araba treaty… we reject the idea that Jordan is a resource-poor country.”
Jordanian human rights groups have denounced the arrests of at least 36 student protesters earlier this week following a demonstration in central Amman on Tuesday.
Hala Ahed, a human rights lawyer from the National Forum for Defending Freedoms told The New Arab earlier this week that the protesters were detained without charge, saying that this was against Jordanian law.
Jamal Jeet, another lawyer with the National Forum told Arabi 21 that the detained protesters had been distributed to prisons far away from their places of residence “as a punitive measure”.
75 members of the Jordanian parliament have signed a memorandum calling for an urgent review of the Declaration of Principles establishing the Jordanian-Israeli solar power deal.
Khalil Atiya, the MP who sponsored the memorandum, told Arabi 21, “Parliament will resort to a no confidence vote in the government if it doesn’t answer MP’s demands for a cancellation of the Declaration of Principles.”
“Parliament has also called for the release of the students detained by authorities,” he added.