John Kerry King Abdullah Benjamin Netanyahu
Jordan's King Abdullah, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuReuters

Jordan's parliament could reject a long-awaited contract to purchase natural gas from Israel on Tuesday (9 December), after a significant number of parliamentarians pledged support to a campaign aimed at derailing the deal.

A group of Israeli energy companies announced in September that they had signed a letter of intent to sell natural gas to a Jordanian power company. Local media reported at the time that the deal was worth as much as $15bn (£9.6bn) over a 15 year period.

However, the tense political climate between the countries over incidents at a holy site in Jerusalem could scupper the agreement before it is signed.

Jordan last month took the unprecedented step of recalling its ambassador after Israeli security forces entered al-Aqsa mosque, amid protests regarding Jewish prayer at the contested site. It is the first such incident since the two countries signed a peace deal in 1994.

Meanwhile, 79 out of 150 Jordanian parliamentarians have backed a grassroots campaign entitled Say No to Natural Gas Deal with Israel, according to reports in local media.

Minor protests have been reported across Jordan in recent weeks, as the political situation between Jordan and Israel has deteriorated.

For its part, Jordan can ill afford to lose the contract. One of the world's most energy-poor countries, Jordan imports more than 95% of its energy resources. The potential contract with the Israeli gas companies could save the country as much as $1.4bn each year and reduce its dependence on gas deliveries from Egypt.