Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | April 4, 2012

April Newsletter

World Water Day – Cross Border Youth Camps

To celebrate International Water Day, FoEME held 3 cross border youth camps in parallel for four Israeli communities, four Palestinian communities and five Jordanian communities. The objectives of the camps were for the “Water Trustees” to meet their peers from their partnering communities and to hold joint environmental and water activities.

All camps were a wonderful experience for children, both about nature and about cross border cultures.

Battir / Judean Hills Landscape – Cross Border Workshop

FoEME hosted a meeting in Beit Jala, West Bethlehem to discuss next steps in promoting the protection of terraced landscapes within the area. In attendance were representatives from UNESCO, the Society for Protection of Nature in Israel, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, planning professionals, and local activists from both sides of the Green Line.

This diverse group presented their efforts in mapping, working with communities, and documenting the landscape in an effort to identify methods for preserving the living cultural heritage. While longer term planning is underway, FoEME is also working to support recent efforts by the Battir community to prevent the Separation Wall from being built within this landscape in the West Bethlehem area.

Meeting to rehabilitate Abu Nar / Hadera Stream


In continuing efforts to promote cross border solutions to shared environmental problems, FoEME staff held a meeting at the Baka Garbiya Municipality with the representatives of the Sharon Drainage Authority & other relevant agencies to advance the rehabilitation of the Hadera upstream and to develop a park on both sides of the border: Baka Sharkiya in Palestine and Baka Garbiya / Jat municipalities, in Israel. Preparation of a master plan for the Israeli part of the river is underway. The project is being presented to various donor agencies for support.

The Good Water Neighbors project is supported by USAID, SIDA, the EU Partnership for Peace program, and the Rosenzweig Coopersmith Foundation.

Jordanian Parliamentarians visit to Israel and the West Bank

Following the February Transboundary Advocacy of Parliamentarians (TAP) Regional Meeting, several Jordanian Parliamentarians requested a cross-border visit to better understand the demise and need for rehabilitation of the Lower Jordan River.

From March 19-24, FoEME staff gave the delegation extensive site tours on the Western side of the River, to see how FoEME’s educational efforts and engagement of local residents has led to the commitment of the local governments to undertake significant steps towards rehabilitation of the Jordan River. The Jordanian parliamentarians found it encouraging that FoEME’s regional coordination has led to similar efforts in Israel, Palestine and Jordan to provide cleaner water for the river. As ‘champions’ of the Jordan River, the parliamentarians insisted on the importance of highlighting these efforts to the Jordanian national government.

Jordanian / Palestinian Media Workshop

FoEME hosted a workshop for Jordanian and Palestinian journalists and media specialists from the 26th to the 28th of March. As the final event in FoEME’s Transboundary Advocacy of Parliamentarians (TAP) project, the workshop was designed to inform journalists about environmental issues in the region and brainstorm ways to further involve the media on water and environmental issues.

Interactions between journalists, TAP residents and decision makers exemplified the success of the two-year TAP project in building a support base of parliamentarians. One Member of the Jordanian Parliament left his seat in the auditorium and took the podium to declare his support for FoEME’s work and the need for transboundary cooperation on water issues in the region.

The Transboundary Advocacy of Parliamentarians (TAP) project is supported by the European Union’s Partnership for Peace program.

The Australian Experience – Chris Hammer visits the region

This month FoEME welcomed Australian journalist and author Chris Hammer to the region. In his 2010 book entitled, “The River”, Hammer presents the innovative strategies employed by Australian government agencies to rehabilitate the Murray Darling Basin. The pioneering approach to water management in the Australian Basin has been recognized the world over as a best practice and can serve as a model to decision makers in the region towards the rehabilitation of the Lower Jordan River.

During his visit to the region, Chris Hammer toured the Lower Jordan River and met with representatives of key Ministries, Members of Parliament, decision makers, academics and NGO representatives in Jordan, Israel and Palestine to share the Australian experience and discuss possible replication in the Lower Jordan River. To learn more about this visit please visit FoEME’s event page. For recent media coverage of the Chris Hammer visit please see our Jordan River / Press Coverage page.

The Chris Hammer visit was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Australian Embassies in Tel Aviv and Amman and the Representative Office in Ramallah.

Desalination – Position Paper

FoEME recently published a Position Paper on Desalinization explaining the positive and negative sides of a water economy focused on increased water supply through desalinization as well as the alternatives to desalinization.

FoEME’s position paper asks important questions including how much should Israel be desalinating? And what are the alternatives to desalinization? The paper further identifies some of the conservation and demand management approaches that can help to resolve the water deficit through more environmentally friendly and sustainable approaches to water management.

The Jordan River Rehabilitation Project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, the Global Nature Fund / Ursula Merz Foundation and the Osprey Foundation.


Auja EcoCenter, Palestine – activities

Our Jordan Valley Environmental Education Center in Auja continues to host a wide range of activities. This month, they include a GIS workshop for youth from Wadi Fukin, Sur Baher, Jalameh, Jericho and Auja; a workshop for Mayors in the West Bank about the threats of pollution to groundwater; a workshop for international tour guides that came to learn about the EcoCenter and what it has to offer; a large women’s group from Yatta came to learn what the Center has to offer; and the highlight – on World Water Day – 68 youth came together from Auja, Jericho, Wadi Fukin and Fasayel for a full day of water activities, ice breaking games, an environmental Q&A game, a trip to the Auja spring, a clean up activity and a tree planting event.

The Auja Environmental Education Center is supported by the Drosos Foundation.


FoEME Directors at the Skoll World Forum

Having won the prestigious Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship 3 years ago, FoEME was once again invited to attend the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship – the premier international platform for advancing entrepreneurial approaches to solve the world’s most pressing problems. 1000 hand-selected delegates from the social, finance, private and public sectors convene for three days and nights in Oxford, England. Attendees representing nearly 65 countries participate in critical debates, dedicated networking events, self-organized sessions, small group workshops and compelling panel and plenary sessions.

FoEME Directors attended this year’s Forum, with our Israeli Director, Gidon Bromberg, a speaker at the Closing Plenary Session.

FoEME’s American Friends at the J Street Conference

FoEME was pleased to participate in the Annual J Street Convention in Washington, DC last week, with this year’s theme being: “Making History”. More than 2,000 people attended the conference, including Ms. Valerie Jarrett, from the White House, a senior advisor to President Obama, Shimon Peres via video speech, and many more.

FoEME was represented by our American Friends, Bob Cole, Sue Tate, Julie France and Mary Alexander who also chaired a panel on “Changing Paradigms among World Jewry for a Two-State Solution”.

Website upgrade

See our new “FoEME EcoTourism” box on our Homepage (on the bottom left), with direct links to the dedicated webpages of our different EcoTourism components;
• Jordan Valley Environmental Education Center in Auja,
• Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark in Jordan,
• Neighbors Path tours in the region.

Have a look – and come visit!!

FoEME’s new Tel Aviv office

Our Tel Aviv office has moved! Our new office is now located on 90 Menachem Begin Road. Please come by and visit us!

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Responses

  1. ECO Trip
    Understand that a British delegation from the Londons Brent Multi Faith Forum will be visiting Israel Palestine and Jordon on May 23rd
    Rabbi Frank Dabba Smith from the HWPS London will lead the delegation which will include Muslims and Christians from the Multi Faith Forum

  2. The Eco visit to Israel,Jordan and Palestines west bank abd eco village with the with FoEME was a wonderful experience and big eye opener in seeing what communities can do together when it comes to WATER


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