Saturday, September 27, 2008

TIME honors Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian group for environmental work

Congratulations to Friends of the Earth - Middle East (FoEME), for being awarded the "Time Magazine's Heroes of the Environment 2008." Haaretz reports on this Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian enviromental organziation in "raising awareness of environmental issues such as preserving the Dead Sea and groundwater sources."

Here's a little bit more from the article:
Recently FoEME has been campaigning for examining alternatives to the option of funneling water from the Red Sea via a channel to save the Dead Sea. The Israeli and Jordanian governments support this alternative, but FoEME says it is ecologically hazardous to the Arava and the Dead Sea itself, and fails to solve the acute water shortage that the Jordan River also suffers from.

Every FoEME branch makes decisions appropriate to its country on the basis of a joint vision, but the three branches maintain close cooperation to protect their shared ecological heritage, and Bromberg spends much of his time in Jordan. The Jordanian and Palestinian activists compromise their safety by cooperating with their Israeli counterparts: They have been subjected to threats, and a few years ago an attempt was made to murder Mehyar in Amman.

"We believe we have to cooperate to prevent the environment's destruction," says Bromberg. "People can start looking for solutions now, rather than wait for the end of the conflict."

After working to influence decision-makers in the first years, FoEME has focused a large part of its activities in community centers on both sides of the border in recent years. The organization's flagship, "Good Water Neighbors," encourages local leaders of some 20 communities on either side of the border to cooperate to conserve water and act against pollution, overpumping and other water waste.
I admire the people involved in this organization. Reaching to the other is very hard and these people do it under great danger. Israelis have to promote more involvement in inter-faith, inter-cultural, and cross border organization.

Peace can be made in two places. One place is at the negotiating table which most of us can't take part of. The other place is at meetings such as those of
"A Slim Peace", a woman's lost weight program that brings a diverse group of Israelis and Palestinian to Jerusalem and documented by Yael Luttwak, a 36-year-old American-Israeli filmmaker, over a 6 week period, as reported by this article and video on

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