Last week I took a tour of unrecognized Bedouin communities in the Negev/Naqab, similar to the one that James did with Rabbis for Human Rights.
This tour was fascinating because of its subject matter, but also because I was introduced to an extremely cool organization called Lifesource, one of the sponsors of the tour.
Barely a year old but going strong, Lifesource is a Palestinian-led organization dedicated to achieving systemic change and building sustainable, socially just water management in the region.
Lifesource is cool not only because they are working to end the regional water crisis, but also because they are doing so in a manner that focuses on achieving shared, balanced decision-making power between disadvantaged and more privileged stakeholders.
They believe that there is systemic discrimination between Israelis and Palestinians in water distribution, so in order to truly manage shared water resources sustainably, all parties must be fully participatory and have an equal place at the negotiating table.
The Lifesource team describes their project as a “process, not a solution.” Through this process, water users should be educated about the complexities of the water situation, and empowered as popular representatives who have the power to help determine how the region’s ground and surface water resources should be managed.
They argue that this process should begin immediately, at the grassroots level, rather than waiting for political leaders or final status negotiations to do the trick.
Lifesource operates through a variety of methods under the heading of popular research, popular education, and popular action. Together with the Palestinian Hydrology Group, for instance, they are working on a full-length documentary film, based on interviews with community members, that explores the water situation in the region.
Another example is that they are meeting with the women of Jayyous in a series of three meetings this August to discuss the results of their interviews and plan a campaign for action to improve their drinking water quality and access to water.
For more information about Lifesource and their activities, or for ways to get involved (there are tons!) check out their website at www.lifesource.ps.
For more information on the Palestinian water crisis, check out A Green Prophet Finds West Bank in Water Crisis Too!