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Netanyahu (L) and King Abdullah in 2014. Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved a request to increase the water supply to Jordan after prodding from the Biden administration, Israeli officials told me. 

Why it matters: Israeli-Jordanian relations have recently sunk into a new crisis, with the water supply as one major point of tension. The Jordanian government asked the Biden administration in recent weeks for help in resolving the issue. 

  • Secretary of State Tony Blinken raised the issue in a phone call with his Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi, and encouraged the Israeli government to help the Jordanians.

The backstory: Israel has committed under past agreements to supply Jordan with water. Every year, Jordan asks for an additional amount, and Israel typically agrees right away.

  • But this time, Netanyahu did not immediately consent — reportedly in retaliation for Jordan refusing to allow him to fly out of Amman to Abu Dhabi.
  • The scuttling of Netanyahu's trip came after the Jordanian crown prince's visit to Jerusalem was canceled at the last minute due to Israeli security restrictions.

Worth noting: The Biden administration has been highly supportive of Jordan's King Abdullah II amid the current political crisis within the royal family. President Biden and Blinken both called the king to pledge their support. 

Go deeper

Apr 11, 2021 - World

Defense Sec. Austin stresses U.S. commitment to Israel's security amid growing Iran tensions

Issei Kato/Reuters/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived for his first visit in Jerusalem amid nuclear talks in Vienna and growing tensions between Israel and Iran.

Why it matters: Austin met his counterpart Benny Gantz and will meet later with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss Iran and regional security issues.

Apr 12, 2021 - World

U.S. distances itself from explosion at Iranian nuclear site

Lloyd Austin (L) and Benjamin Netanyahu today in Jerusalem. Photo: Mehahem Kahana/Pool/AFP via Getty

The Biden administration says it had no role in the explosion on Sunday at an Iranian uranium enrichment facility. Iran has blamed Israel and vowed to take revenge.

Why it matters: The administration is attempting to negotiate a return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, with a second round of indirect talks set to start on Wednesday. The timing of the incident, along with several recent Israeli strikes on Iranian ships, could make Biden's diplomatic challenge more difficult.

Apr 11, 2021 - World

Iran announces blackout at nuclear facility, possible Israeli cyber attack

Iran announced on Sunday a blackout occurred at its uranium enrichment facility in Natanz.

Why it matters: The incident occurred as U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived for his first visit in Jerusalem amid nuclear talks in Vienna and growing tensions between Israel and Iran.