Photo Credit: Anat Hermony / Flash 90
Naharayim -- a park once known as the "Island of Peace" between Israel and Jordan, Feb. 3, 2020.

The Israeli government cabinet has approved a proposal by Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej to accelerate implementation of the ‘Jordan Gateway’ project.

The joint industrial zone between the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was first proposed during the talks on the 1994 peace agreement between the two countries.


Sunday’s cabinet decision is aimed at advancing the construction and operation of the joint industrial park to enhance Israeli-Jordanian cooperation.

Staff work to prepare the decision and the operation model for the terminal was carried out by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Regional Cooperation Ministry in conjunction with the Airports Authority along with the ministries of Transportation and Road Safety, Foreign Affairs, Economy and Industry.

Israel’s Regional Cooperation Ministry, in conjunction with the Emek Hamaayanot Regional Council, has in recent years advanced the project to develop the park.

The construction of a bridge connecting the park on the Israeli and Jordanian sides was completed some time ago.

“Twenty-eight years since the peace agreement with Jordan, we are taking the good neighborly relations between our two countries another step forward,” Lapid said.

“This is a breakthrough that will contribute greatly to developing and strengthening the region.”

Final details were worked out last week during Lapid’s visit with King Abdullah II in Amman, the prime minister said.

The project is expected to increase employment in both countries, advance economic and diplomatic relations, and “enhance the peace and friendship between our two countries,” Lapid added.

The joint industrial zone, to be located on the border, is expected to produce joint initiatives in trade, technology and local industry.

“Increasing efforts on the ‘Jordan Gateway’ project has been one of the main missions of the Regional Cooperation Ministry in the past year,” Frej noted.

“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,” he said.

Frej predicted the project would contribute to the economies of “the region as a whole.”

Michaeli called Jordan “a strategic partner of decisive importance for the stability of the entire region,” and said she is committed to “doing whatever proves necessary” to establish Israeli relations with Jordan and help advance whatever goals it has in common with the State of Israel.

The main points of the decision approved by the cabinet:

1. Advancing operation of the ‘Jordan Gateway’ Park Terminal for pedestrian crossing. The terminal will also serve as a crossing for entrepreneurs interested in the joint initiative and in the industrial zone on the Jordanian side.

2. 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 arriving from the Jordanian side for business purposes.

4. The immediate construction of an entrance facility and the necessary structures for operating the park are to 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, to be evaluated following completion of the first stage.

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


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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