Israel, Jordan, the UAE and the US are today expected to sign a water-for-energy agreement in Dubai—laying the groundwork for the biggest regional cooperation project ever undertaken between Israel and its neighbors.
Under the proposal, UAE owned-Masdar will construct a solar farm in a remote desert in Jordan. In exchange, Jordan will double the amount of water it purchases from Israel. Israel will pay Masdar and the Jordanian government $180 million a year for the project.
Should the multilateral accord be successfully implemented, expect all parties to the agreement to benefit. In the medium term, bilateral relations between Israel and the UAE and Israel and Jordan will improve. Intertwined economic ties and mutually beneficial projects incentivize cooperation. For the US, better regional relations will improve ally-Israel’s security, a key US foreign policy interest.
More practically, a solar energy project helps address climate change and will likely result in lower energy prices for Israeli consumers—the project is expected to provide for two per cent of Israel’s total energy needs by 2030. For Jordan, a country that has long suffered from water shortages, an increase in water purchases from its neighbor will help solve that problem as well.