Thousands of protesters have taken part in a demonstration in the Jordanian capital of Amman after the country signed a new deal to import gas from Israel this week. The country's government, which has a Palestinian-origin population of over 60%, was accused by protesters of signing the deal "behind closed doors" and against the nation's wishes.
Crowds of roughly 3,000 people gathered in the capital and carried signs saying "no to supporting terrorism" and "no to stolen gas" as well as chanting "gas from the Zionists is a disgrace".
The demonstration was led by leftists and pro-Palestinian activists and was the fourth against the new deal in as many days since it was signed on Monday (26 September), Middle East Eye reported.
The deal was struck between Jordanian National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) and the US-owned Noble Energy, and will supply Jordan with 1.6 trillion cubic feet of gas from the Leviathan gas field in the Mediterranean.
Under the $10bn (£7.7bn) agreement, the government said it allowed the country to secure stable energy prices for the next decade and reduce its $530m (£408m) annual budget deficit.
However, the deal was criticised for making Jordanians dependent on Israeli gas, restricting them from advocating for the rights of Palestinians or being critical of Israel in any way. "If they don't like our politics ... they can simply turn off the tap," Daoud Kuttab, a commentator and director general of the Amman-based Community Media Network, said to Gulf News.
"We don't want to help the Israeli economy, to help the Israeli government buy more guns to point and shoot at Palestinians," Maymona Omar told the publication.
Jordan's parliament voted against a similar gas deal in 2014, but the government declared that it does not need parliamentary approval now because the agreement is between two companies rather than sovereign nations.
However, the deal – which comes a week within the latest Jordanian elections and the murder of writer Nahed Hattar – is expected to put renewed pressure on the government. "The government arranged for this signing while there was no parliament," protester Mohammad Darwish told Gulf News. "We won't let them off the hook."