FoEME held a symposium in Jericho on March 2nd, highlighting the importance of a healthy, clean and rehabilitated Lower Jordan River for the development of the Palestinian economy. This important event built upon the on-going work of FoEME to foster political will, public support and concrete action towards the rehabilitation of the Lower Jordan River, preserving the unique ecological heritage of this historic river, and securing Palestinian water rights within the river basin. The conference was followed by a field trip for participants to sites of historical and environmental importance in the Jericho area. For more information about this important event including summaries, agendas, presentations and the publication released at the conference, please visit the event page.

Read more about the Jordan River Rehabilitation project in our website’s Jordan River / press coverage page

The Jordan River Rehabilitation Project is supported by USAID, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, the Green Environment Fund and the Global Nature Fund / Ursula Merz Foundation.

This month FoEME released its first ever photography book entitled “A Promise of Peace” highlighting the unique cultural and natural heritage sites found within the proposed Jordan River Peace Park by photographer Eddie Gerald. The stunning photographs captured in this book remind us anew what we are working to protect and restore.

FoEME also released the short film “Bridging Water”, a documentary about the proposed Jordan River Peace Park and the 2007 design workshop that brought together Jordanian, Israeli, Palestinian and International experts to advance designs for the Park. The film is available on our YouTube site in English with Arabic and Hebrew subtitles.

The Jordan River Peace Park Project is supported by the Blaustein Foundation and the Jewish Funders Network / Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund.

Friends of the Earth Middle East is pleased to announce that Fai Lam has won our design competition with the winning entry for improvements and ecological designs of FoEME’s Jordan Rift Valley Center for Environmental Education and Ecotourism Development in Auja Municipality, Palestine. FoEME’s design jury selected the design for its functional yet creative design. To view Fai Lam’s winning design please click here. Thanks to all the participating designers for submitting entries!

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

On March 3rd, a group of “Water Trustees” from Jenin visited their peers from Gan-Ner and Sandala – their neighboring community of Gilboa Regional Council in Israel.

The group visited Ein Yizrael, one of the stations on the Gilboa “Neighbors Path” tour, and then discussed and compared water realities and water related priorities. They learnt that both communities access their water from the same basin – the north eastern basin of the Mountain Aquifer.

On Thursday, March 10th, representatives from Baqa Al Sharkiya visited Baqa Garabiya’s municipality and its recently inaugurated Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP). Baqa Sharkiya’s representatives were updated about the sewage line system currently being installed in their village – that will be ready within one year – and expressed their hope that the funding will be raised to connect their sewage line to the Baqa Garabiya’s WWTP, and that the project will be realized.

The representatives of Baqa Al Garabiya emphasized the importance of municipal monitoring to guarantee that only sanitary sewage will reach the WWTP. Other issues concerned the use of the reclaimed effluent and the opportunity for rehabilitating the Wadi Abu Naar / Hedera Stream.

On Tuesday, March 23rd, FoEME led a tour for human rights activists to the Palestinian Jordan Valley including Auja, Ein el Bedia and nearby Bedouin communities.

The tour enabled a closer understanding of the hardships faced by the Palestinian communities: issues of water and land confiscation as well as rigid restrictions on movement. The tour, which was accompanied by a movie producer, was the basis for a wider public campaign that will be launched by FoEME.

Read more on our blog…

On Thursday, March 24th, FoEME’s Good Water Neighbors Project held a cross border farmers meeting with farmers from the Israeli Emek Hefer Regional Council, together with 21 farmers from the Palestinian villages of Baka Sharkia, Ein El Bedia, Um Reichan and Yatta. Discussions and site visits focused on the use of treated wastewater in agriculture, and better practices for land and water conservation.

While using treated wastewater in agriculture was once considered taboo in Palestinian culture, today, due to increased water scarcity as well as better knowledge and understanding, Palestinian farmers are ready and willing to use this source of recycled water.

FoEME celebrated World Water Day in several activities throughout the region. On Tuesday, March 22nd, FoEME’s Tel Aviv staff took to the streets and distributed 4-minute hour glasses for timing showers, explaining the need for water conservation, and that reducing shower time is the ‘easiest thing that every individual can do’. Click to read about the Tel Aviv activity and World Water Day in the news…

On Saturday, March 26th, an activity was held at the Sharhabil bin Hassneh EcoPark in Jordan, with 75 children from 4 nearby Good Water Neighbors communities. The event was listed on the official website of World Water Day entitled “Water Matters for Youth in the Jordan Valley”. Several stations were set up for students (1) to watch and discuss an educational cartoon about water pollution; (2) to paint ceramic tiles with water themes in the park’s picnic area; (3) to play a cooperative game of passing around a glass of water with closed eyes, trying not to spill a drop… clearly exemplifying the importance of preserving water and the necessity of working together to do so. Read more about this activity in our Jordanian Activity – World Water Day blog

“Water Trustees” from Palestinian GWN communities of Tulkarem, Jericho, Yatta and Sur Baher, were busy with World Water Day activities as well. Youth organized activities such as a photo exhibit depicting their local water resources; they heard lectures about the importance of water conservation; hiked through their local Wadis; visited water filtering systems; distributed chlorine to houses to disinfect their wells, and more…

The GWN communities of Jericho (Palestine), Beit She’an (Israel) and Kings Academy (Jordan) met for their 3rd workshop in the end of March in the unique village of Neve Shalom / Wahat el Salam; a village jointly established by Jewish and Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, whose mission is to work for peace, equality and understanding between the two peoples.

The youth spent the weekend editing together the rough cut of the films they are making about the Lower Jordan River, and discussed ideas on how to use this important medium as part of a regional campaign to rehabilitate the River.

Read additional articles about the GWN project, from the Jordan Times and others, on our Good Water Neighbors / press coverage page.

The Good Water Neighbors project is supported by USAID, SIDA and the Belgium Foreign Ministry’s Peace Building Desk.