Photo: Haim Zach (GPO)

Israel to advance ‘Jordan Gateway’ project

The government in Jerusalem approved a proposal of Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej to accelerate the implementation of a project to establish a bilateral industrial complex.

By Erin Viner

The framework of the plan was first raised during talks on the 1994 peace agreement between the Jewish State and the Hashemite Kingdom– it has been decided to advance the construction and operation of the ‘Jordan Gateway’ park in order to enhance cooperation with the Kingdom of Jordan.

According to an Israeli governmental statement, preparation of an operation model of the “Jordan Gateway” Joint Employment and Industrial Park is already underway, led by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Regional Cooperation Ministry, in conjunction with the Airports Authority and Ministries of Transportation and Road Safety, Foreign Affairs and Economy and Industry.

The joint industrial zone is located Israel’s border with Jordan, that “will allow Israeli and Jordanian entrepreneurs and businesspeople to communicate directly” and “produce joint initiatives in trade, technology and local industry,” declared Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

In recent years, the Regional Cooperation Ministry, in conjunction with the Emek HaMa’ayanot Regional Council, has worked toward development of the terminal by removing impediments. This also includes updating relevant planning and legal issues, as well as completion some time ago of a bridge to the complex that will serve as a crossing between the two countries.

“Increasing efforts on the Jordan Gateway project has been one of the main missions of the Regional Cooperation Ministry in the past year. We have succeeded in bringing about significant progress after a period replete with impediments and obstacles,” Minister Frej commented. “This is part of the major progress that we have carried out in strengthening relations with Jordan in the past year. We started with the agreement to export water in exchange for solar energy and now have this decision which takes the vision of the civil peace, not just between the countries but also between the peoples, an additional step further. The peace between us is not a peace devoid of economic and civil cooperation that enables the citizens of both countries to enjoy its fruits. Advancing the project will facilitate the strengthening of economic cooperation with the Kingdom and contribute greatly to the economies of both countries and of the region as a whole,” he added.

Transportation and Road Safety Minister Michaeli said that she welcomes “ every action to improve relations with the Kingdom of Jordan,” stressing that “Jordan is a strategic partner and is of decisive importance for the stability of the entire region.” She also underscored her commitment “to doing whatever proves necessary to establish our relations with the Kingdom and assist in advancing the goals it has in common with the State of Israel.”

Prime Minister Lapid said that the finalization of details regarding the Jordan Gateway initiative were addressed during his recent visit to Amman on 27 July, when Jordanian King Abdullah II invited the Israeli leader to his palace. The meeting was described as long and warm and included a lunch with Jordanian Monarch, Prime Minister Lapid and their delegations.

At that time, the two leaders discussed the many opportunities to build on the peace agreements, improve the long-standing link between their peoples and strengthen the two countries’ common interests. Prime Minister Lapid and King Abdullah II also addressed the importance of their personal ties and their mutual esteem as an important element in maintaining regional stability and presenting tangible achievements to the two peoples and to the entire region, said an Israeli governmental statement.

Other topics included the July visit by United States President Joe Biden to Israel and the region, as well as the possibilities and opportunities the visit brought in its wake including the regional architecture. In addition to the Jordan Gateway Industrial Park, the two leaders also instructed their teams to progress quickly on major projects such as construction of solar energy facilities in the Hashemite Kingdom, desalination in Israel, joint tourism in the Gulf of Eilat-Aqaba, food security, agriculture and transportation links.

Following their talks, Prime Minister Lapid thanked King Abdullah II agreed to continue deepening the ties and dialogue between their countries on various issues.

Following are the main points of the Jordan Gateway Park Terminal:

  1. Advancing operation for the crossing of pedestrians, which will also serve as a convenient crossing for entrepreneurs interested in the joint initiative and in the industrial zone on the Jordanian side.
  2. According to the detailed outline of the decision, subject to budgetary agreements and the approval of the Knesset Economics Committee, the Airports Authority will build and operate the Jordan Gateway Park Terminal.
  3. The terminal will include a facility for hosting businesspeople and guests who will arrive from the Jordanian side for business purposes.
  4. The immediate construction of an entrance facility and the necessary structures for operating the park will be evaluated while allocating resources for completion.
  5. An outline will be formulated on developing the initiative on the Israeli side in the intermediate- and long-term, which will be evaluated following completion of the first stage.

The project will be advanced, developed and operated in coordination and conjunction with the Kingdom of Jordan and with mutual agreement on the goals of the project and aspects of its operation.