Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | March 6, 2018

March 1st 2018 – EcoPeace Middle East Environmental Peacebuilding Newsletter

Dear Friends,

The Gaza crisis continues to be an important focus of our attention.  Please see the relevant items below to learn why.

We have also held several exciting cross border youth camps this month, taking advantage of the good winter weather and our EcoPark in Jordan.

In short, it has been another month of intense cross border work to preserve our shared environment.

Thomas Friedman in the NY Times – mentioning EcoPeaceFont-New-York-Times-Logo

We invite you to read this New York Times article by Thomas Friedman “Everyone is going all the way” which supports EcoPeace’s approach to promoting a regional solution through environmental cooperation. Friedman discusses the implications of the situation in the Gaza Strip for Israel, reminding us that the temporary closures of the Ashkelon desalination plant, which supplies 15% of Israel’s desalinated water, have occurred due to the flow of sewage from Gaza into the Mediterranean. The article also includes links to the recently published EcoPeace/INSS discussion paper on Israeli, Jordanian, Palestinian water diplomacy efforts.

New INSS publication – The Crisis of the Gaza Strip: A Way Out [2 chapters by EcoPeace]

In the course of 2017, the INSS conducted a research study “The Crisis of the Gaza Strip:  Gaza_Crisis_w_INSS_cover_publicationA Way Out” to examine the situation in the Gaza Strip, with a focus on the prevailing political, economic, infrastructural, and security conditions, including their cumulative manifestations and their short term and long term implications.

As co-authors, EcoPeace contributed 2 chapters to the report.  One chapter, written in cooperation with a team of INSS researchers, describes the water and energy crisis in Gaza; the other chapter, written in cooperation with a team from RAND Corporation, focuses on the implications of the water crisis on public health.  The articles contained in this volume, both individually and collectively, offer clear conclusions that measures to rebuild the Gaza Strip are a critical and urgent imperative.

EcoPeace in the Water Caucus in Israeli Knesset

Water caucusA meeting of the Israeli Parliament’s Water Caucus was held on February 20th, hosted by its Chair MK Yael Cohen-Faran, and attended by EcoPeace Middle East. In the discussion, the Head of the Water Authority, Giora Shacham, and other experts expressed their concern about the continuing water crisis in the region and its implications for Israel.

Mr. Shacham highlighted the dire conditions in Gaza, especially in the water sector.  On the domestic front, he presented the need for a water policy that takes these factors into consideration, with changes needed in agricultural quotas and actions that would promote water conservation.


Sderot Conference



Join us!  On March 6th, from 14:00-16:00, EcoPeace will hold an event about the impact of the water and sanitation crisis in Gaza on Israel. The event will be held as part of the Sderot Conference and will be joined by decision makers and experts (the event will be held in Hebrew). To sign up for the event:

 This event is supported by the Government of Canada.

Regional Alumni Camp

EcoPeace’s “Good Water Neighbors” youth program held a 3-day cross border workshop alumnifor Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli alumni students at our SHE EcoPark this past month.  The workshop addressed our shared water resources, such as the Jordan River), while conducting a host of activities to strengthen their relationships and promote the concept of solidarity.  Students commented saying “activities were effective because we worked as a team” and “our decisions were common and collective“… We are proud to see the future generation create friendships based on their shared environment. That’s how leadership is created.

Regional Youth Water Trustees camp

Another cross border youth meeting was held this month, this one for younger teens, Youth Campfrom the Lower Jordan River and Dead Sea communities, from Israel and Jordan. These youth “Water Trustees” learned about the water realities in each of their countries, hiked together in our blossoming EcoPark, learned about the impact of the Syrian refugees in Jordan on the water reality, visited a new purification and pump station in Mensheya, stopped to see the Diversion Weir (dam) on the Yarmouk River and planted trees together to help the reforestation of our EcoPark.  An intense learning experience was had by all, on many fronts.

Exchange youth visit from Japan

Three Japanese girls from the “Kizuna project“, who every summer host Israeli and japan girls1Palestinian girls from our “Good Water Neighbors” youth program, came to the region this month on a week-long exchange trip. They visited several of our communities and schools, meeting up with alumni and participants from past programs. Together with youth from the Ramot Yam School in Emek Hefer, they painted a wall drawing depicting the relationship between man and the sea, and calling for nature and sea conservation. The message of “Water has no borders” came through loud and clear.  They also visited the participating school in Meitarim, where they learned about composting and the hydroponics system recently installed by EcoPeace.

National Teacher’s Seminar Negev, Israel

Teachers training_NegevEcoPeace’s “Good Water Neighbors” Education program held a daylong training for Geography teachers from all over Israel, with site visits to the Hura Waste Water Treatment Plant and a view of the Green Line at the Rimon Ruins.  Topics covered throughout the day included how to address cross border environmental issues, the role of educators in developing a regional perspective on environmental issues, and finding joint solutions for shared environmental problems.

EcoPeace seeking legal action for flooding in Wadi Fukin

Last month we reported on the Jerusalem Regional Planning Commission that met to discuss Tzur Hadassah’s Master Plan, which calls for the expansion of additional neighborhoods, which would negatively impact its neighboring Palestinian village of WFWadi Fukin.  EcoPeace, together with a group of activists from Tzur Hadassa, attended the hearing to give voice to the formal objection submitted regarding the expansion plan.  In the meantime, due to infrastructure work already taking place, every time it rains, water floods the homes of Wadi Fukin residents.  EcoPeace is assisting the residents to seek compensation from the Israeli Ministry of Housing for damages caused and to speed up the process of building a new drainage system. EcoPeace will continue to do whatever we can, in coordination with both Palestinian and Israeli community residents, to protect the terraced landscape of the valley.

The Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and USAID CMM West Bank / Gaza.

Jordan River in focus

David Institute Hebrew UnivEcoPeace staff continues to lead tours to the Lower Jordan River, making sure to keep raising awareness of the plight of the River, as well disseminating EcoPeace’s efforts for its rehabilitation. A full day tour of the northern parts of the River (from the Sea of Galilee southward to the 3-bridges site) was given to students from the Hebrew University’s Davis Institute for International Relations, that included spots at the Sea of Galilee, the Yardenit baptism site, the Alumot dam site – where the river drastically changes – and visits to see remnants of the River’s former glory at the Rotenberg Hydroelectric power plant and the “3 Bridges” site.  Another half day tour was given to a group of Methodist Bishops, pastors and congregation members from the U.S., who witnessed the sorry state of the River farther south at the Kaser el Yehud baptism site and learned about EcoPeace’s faith based campaign in calling for the River’s rehabilitation.  To organize such tours for your community or organization, please contact us by writing to


The Jordan River Rehabilitation project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency



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