Climate crisis as a change agent? For Israel and Jordan a warmer peace.

Jordan is struggling through a water crisis with drought, but has one of the highest solar radiation rates in the world and a burgeoning renewable energy sector. Israel, whose water resources have been improved with its desalination capacity, is doubling its exports of water to Jordan.

Changes in the United States and Israel’s leadership are thawing relations between Israel and Jordan. But the climate crisis is pushing them even closer together, unlocking cooperation in areas from water to food security and trade. The turnaround has been dramatic: From four years without contacts between managers to three major deals within two months.

Why we wrote this

Benjamin Netanyahu’s resignation as prime minister helped thaw ties between Israel and Jordan. But the climate crisis and its focus on water and renewable energy are giving countries something to talk about.

Despite the limitations of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, pragmatism speaks for daily cooperation as a basis for understanding and interdependence. Officials from both countries express hope that these new bridges can help convince Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians that their future is a common future.

“We support the Palestinian people, we reject the occupation, and we are careful about whether the Israeli government keeps its agreement,” said Osama, a Jordanian farmer struggling with the drought. “But if we can work together in good faith as equals in a way that is not at the expense of the Palestinians,” he adds, “then let’s try to be good neighbors.”

Amman, Jordan; and Tel Aviv, Israel

Osama’s rainwater – fed olives hang partially shrunken on their branches.

The dam he relies on for his tomato and cucumber farm has run dry, forcing him to run in water every week.

His house near the northern Jordanian town of Irbid receives water once or twice a month.

Why we wrote this

Benjamin Netanyahu’s resignation as prime minister helped thaw ties between Israel and Jordan. But the climate crisis and its focus on water and renewable energy are giving countries something to talk about.

And yet, even as Jordan struggles with a water and economic crisis fueled by what the UN Food and Agriculture Organization calls the worst drought in decades, Osama’s water supply will continue, thanks to the kingdom’s new agreement with Israel.

Recent leadership changes in Israel and the United States are thawing Israeli-Jordan relations. But the climate crisis is pushing them even closer together. It opens up cooperation in areas from water to food security and trade between neighbors, whose peace agreement has so far largely not been translated into tangible benefits for their citizens.

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