There are few environmental topics in the Middle East more controversial than the proposed Red Sea-Dead Sea Canal to revive the Dead Sea, which has the potential to cause lasting damage to the composition of the sea’s ecosystem.
With the use of water conservation and rainwater harvesting on the part of communities in Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan, FEME seeks to restore the Jordan River–and thereby restore the main water source of the Dead Sea.
According to Gidon Bromberg, Israel’s Director of FEME, restoring the Jordan River may be the first step to achieving Middle East peace.
In an article for the new green blog Yale Environment 360, Bromberg writes,
Our group has made progress because we are a grassroots, multi-national effort with Jordanian, Israeli and Palestinian staff members working inside their own communities while simultaneously reaching out to nationalities across the river. One of our core beliefs is that the region will never achieve a lasting peace until we begin talking directly to each other. Tackling a crucial environmental challenge that affects us all is a good start.
Bromberg chronicles the efforts of FEME to unite Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli adults and youth in the mutual purpose of saving the Jordan River. Adding to the efforts have been the support of religious organizations, who recognize the import of the river to Biblical tradition. So far, the efforts are paying off.
But the next step will be much harder: To enlist the aid of the Israeli, Jordanian and Syrian governments.
Green Prophet has featured the Middle East water crisis in several articles: