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Jordan, Palestine, Israel Sign Water Deal under US Auspices | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Jason Greenblatt (C), US President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy, sits next to Tzachi Hanegbi (L), Israeli Minister of Regional Cooperation and Mazen Ghoneim, head of the Palestinian Water Authority, during a news conference in Jerusalem July 13, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun (REUTERS)

Ramallah, Amman- US President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, announced on Thursday a tripartite agreement over a water deal between Israel, Palestine and Jordan.

The deal guarantees the accession of Palestine to the “Red-Dead Water Project”, which has been negotiated for many years.

“The United States welcomes the agreement reached by the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel, which will allow the sale of 32 million cubic meters of water to the Authority,” Greenblatt told a press conference at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.

The US envoy said he hoped that the deal would contribute to the preservation of the Dead Sea.

“This will not only help the Palestinians and the Israelis, but the Jordanians, too,” he stated.

According to the agreement signed on Thursday, a 220km pipeline will be built to transport water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea to replenish sea that is threatened by dryness.

The flowing water will be used to generate electricity, which will also operate a desalination plant to provide drinking water.

Greenblatt said Israel, whose own desalination plants have led to a water surplus, would sell up to 33 million cubic meters to the Palestinian Authority as part of the finalized agreement, according to Reuters.

The head of the Palestinian Water Authority, Mazen Ghoneim, put the figure at 32 million and said 22 million would go to the Israeli-occupied West Bank and 10 million to the Gaza Strip.

“I am proud of the role that the United States and our international partners have played in helping the parties reach this deal and I hope it is a harbinger of things to come,” Greenblatt said.

On Wednesday, Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen met with his Palestinian counterpart Abeer Odeh in Jerusalem for the first time in a while.

The ministers discussed a number of steps to boost economic cooperation, including increasing the number of Palestinian workers allowed to enter Israel to work in trade, and promoting the export of food and electricity products to Palestinian cities.