Controversial Red-Dead Sea Canal on Hold – But why?

Last month Green Prophet wrote about the controversy over the so-called “Peace Canal” or “Peace Valley” lauded by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in his recent trip to Israel. A huge man-made canal carrying water north from the Red Sea was envisaged as the centrepiece of the joint Israeli-Jordanian initiative, backed by claims of breathing life into the ailing Dead Sea, developing tourism projects on both sides of the Israel-Jordan border, as well as plenty of well-worn rhetoric about “making the desert bloom”.

Environmental groups who vigorously opposed the plans, such as Friends of the Earth Middle East, may be breathing a sign of relief this week following reports that the canal has been put on hold – albeit for the wrong reasons. Sources close to Israeli President Shimon Peres, a key supporter of the canal, say that King Abdullah of Jordan has caved in to pressure from other Arab leaders as well the large Palestinian population in his Kingdom concerned that Jordan is becoming too friendly with Israel (according to a report in the London-based Jewish Chronicle).

The Jordanian pull-out marks a setback for cooperation in the Middle East, whether environmentally sustainable or not, and came well before the ecological impacts of such a grandiose scheme were fully assessed. Hopefully protests against ‘normalisation’ with Israel won’t put a damper on more commendable environment solutions, such as the River Jordan “Peace Park” proposed for Israeli and Jordanian communities to the north of the Dead Sea.

Photo credit: Gaspa.

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6 thoughts on “Controversial Red-Dead Sea Canal on Hold – But why?”

  1. JESUS M. DIAZ, ENG. says:

    YO VISITE COMO ESTUDIANTE A ISRAEL IN 1978 INVITADO A RECIBIR UNA ESPECIALIDAD EN SUELOS Y FERTILIZACION. FUE UNA EXPERIENCIA INCALCULABLE PARA MI Y ME REPRESENTO MUCHO EN MIS CREDENCIALES COMO PROFECIONAL. TRABAJO COMO EXPERTO EN ASUNTOS DE MEDIO HAMBIENTE PARA EL ESTADO DE LA FLORIDA EN LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS. DURANTE MI ESTADIA EN ISRAEL Y AL VISITAR EL MAR MUERTO RECIVIMOS UNA PRESENTACION EN LA CUAL CONSISTIA EN UN PROYECTO QUE SE ESTABA ESTUDIANDO LA POSIBILIDAD DE TRAER AGUA DEL MAR ROJO, SIN DESALIZARLA, AL FIN EL MAR MUERTO ES 35% MAS SALADA QUE EL OCEANO NORMAL. AL MISMO TIEMPO DE TRAER EL AGUA DEL MAR ROJO, USARIAN LA DE 400 METROS. UN PROYECTO AMBICIOSO PERO NO IMPOSIBLE, ME RECUERDO QUE LA SEGURIDAD ERA UNA DE LOS OBSTACULOS, PERO SI JORDANIA SE INTERESA Y SE COMPROMETE EN EL PROYECTO, CREO QUE VALDRIA LA PENA VORVERLO A REVIVIR Y VER SU FACTIBILIDAD. LAS AGUAS QUE SUPLIAN EL MAR MUERTO HAN SIDO UTILIZADAS Y CANALIZADAS AL MAR DE GALILEA PARA EL USO POTABLE Y AGRICOLA. SI SE CONSIGUIERA TRAER EL AGUA DEL MAR ROJO Y SE GENERARA ELECTRICIDAD LA CUAL PRODRIAN COMPARTIR LOS DOS PAISES, MAS LA ATRACCION TURISTICA. SERIA UN PROYECTO DE INGENIERIA DE PRIMERA CLASE Y DE RECONOCIMIENTO MUNDIAL. GRACIAS

  2. Maskil says:

    Perhaps now all the alternatives will be evaluated, including my own hobby-horse, an aqueduct between the Mediterranean and Lake Kinneret.

    Instead of a canal or conduit between the Mediterranean or Red Sea and the Dead Sea, the Med-Kinneret Aqueduct proposal envisages a conduit from the Mediterranean (in the vicinity of Haifa) to Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee). The “potential difference” in height between the Med and Kinneret would be converted to energy by means of a hydro-electric station. This energy would in turn be utilized to desalinate the seawater at a suitable stage between the intake (Med) and outlet (Kinneret).

    The proposal would address all the problems and threats currently faced by the Jordan River ecosystem; the dangerously low level of the Kinneret, the woeful state of the lower reaches of the Jordan itself, and the drying up of the Dead Sea. It would help to rehabilitate the entire length of the Jordan River below Kinneret.

    I’ve outlined the concept on my blog here:

    Altneuland: Building the wrong canal: An alternative to the Red-Dead Canal
    http://blog.altneuland.info/2008/05/building-wrong-canal-alternative-to-red.html

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