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Activists across Jordan protest against Israel gas deal
By Suzanna Goussous - Oct 01,2016 - Last updated at Oct 01,2016
Protesters demonstrate against the gas deal with Israel in downtown Amman on Friday (Photo by Osama Aqarbeh)
AMMAN — Activists across the Kingdom have organised protests and marches to demand the cancellation of the recent gas deal between Jordan’s National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) and Israel.
An activist from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in the Kingdom said around 2,500 people attended a demonstration in Amman after noon prayers on Friday to protest the 15-year gas deal, organised by the so-called Jordan National Campaign Against the Gas Agreement with the Zionist Entity.
“People from different campaigns, organisations and associations joined the march to denounce signing the deal,” the activist told The Jordan Times.
Activists also called for switching off the lights for an hour at 9pm on Sunday “to show the public’s rejection of the gas deal”, she added.
Demonstrations have also taken place in the southern governorate of Karak, some 130km from Amman, where residents headed to the city centre to denounce the agreement, locals said.
The engineers’ association and other organisations will “step up” protests over the coming weeks in Karak, a city that has boycotted Israeli products since 2015, said Wissam Majali, the director of “A city free of Zionist merchandise” campaign.
“This week’s protests, campaigns, and activities will mark the start of demonstrations and initiatives to demand the total reversal of the gas deal and to show the public’s outrage towards the agreement,” Majali told The Jordan Times.
He said activists from Karak will organise a protest next week along with other initiatives in the governorate, including switching off all electrical appliances in houses, institutes and centres to create city-wide black outs on specific days.
Activists in the governorate said the gas deal “does not represent the Jordanian public, and is a source of shame”, pointing to the recent killing of Jordanian Saeed Amro by Israeli forces in Jerusalem.
In Mafraq, 80km northeast of Amman, BDS activist Malek Sabe previously told The Jordan Times that groups and campaign members in the city plan to demonstrate against the agreement until it is cancelled.
He said that protesters had voiced their outrage over the past week and questioned the timing of the deal, noting that it was signed during a politically eventful week.
Advocates from the University of Jordan and the Jordan University of Science and Technology on Thursday organised marches to “show the rejection of students and Jordanian youths”.
University student Sameer Mashhour said activists can deliver clear messages to decision makers through protests on campus.
He said students are planning to wait for the first parliamentary session before stepping up their activities.
Associations and civil society organisations have also called for the cancellation of the gas deal.
Jordan signed a peace deal with Israel in 1994.
Officials from NEPCO previously told The Jordan Times that the gas deal would “help save Jordan up to $600 million each year”.
NEPCO said last Wednesday that the deal with US Noble Energy to import natural gas is one of the Kingdom’s several options to import gas in the future.
Noble Energy is a Houston-based company that holds the largest share in the Israeli Leviathan gas field, located in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel.
A NEPCO official said the deal with Noble Energy will enable Jordan to import 300 million cubic feet of gas per day, which represents 40 per cent of the Kingdom’s electricity-generating needs.
Jordan will still import liquefied natural gas from international markets at the same time, the official said, adding that the Kingdom is in talks with Algeria to import natural gas as part of its strategy, and in the future, it plans to import from Egypt to cover the remaining needs.
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