Highlights from Directors’ USA tour
As a run-up to the official launch of FoEME’s Jordan River Faith Based campaign in November, FoEME’s three Directors visited three major cities in the United States, Washington DC, Chicago and New York City, from September 25 through October 15, to promote the concept that sharing water is the best chance for reviving the moribund peace process between Israel and Palestine, and that faith-based communities and interfaith groups can play a major role in cross-border environmental peacemaking efforts, especially by helping with the rehabilitation of the Jordan River. Throughout the US tour, FoEME directors held events at churches, synagogues and mosques, speaking to hundreds of faith based leaders and distributing our new faith based toolkit materials. Check back with us next month for the online release of our faith based toolkit materials following our regional conference!

The directors also participated in media interviews, think-tank programs, and policymaker meetings to convey FoEME’s message. One major event in Washington DC included with the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution where at the invitation of FoEME, Palestinian Minister of Water Dr. Shadad Attili and Ambassador Dr. Oded Eran from the INSS, spoke to the water issue in total agreement – that the water issue could, and should, move forward. Read more in this memo of the event from Brookings website.

FoEME’s “Water Cannot Wait” project is supported by the Skoll Global Threats Fund and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The Jordan River Rehabilitation Project is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Osprey Foundation.

‘Protecting Ground Water’ Project – Conference in Malaga
In efforts to launch the Mediterranean Network for Ground Water Protection conference which took place in Malaga, Spain on October 22-23, 2013, the President of Malaga County and officials from Madrid and the Andalucía governorate welcomed a delegation of officials from the Ministry of Environment and Water Authority and Mayors from Jordan, Israel and Palestine. Participants were introduced to different water and environmental issues from the four partnering countries. Later the participants were divided into focus groups to take part in two different simultaneously held sessions on Financial & Political Challenges and Technical & Regulation Challenges.

The participants then visited the Water springs of Antequera Town and the Torcal de Antequera, (Karst Nature Reserve), were the high vulnerability of the limestone aquifers is very well demonstrated, giving participants a chance to get first-hand experience on the ground water issues in Malaga County. The conference was successful in terms of knowledge sharing and exchange, as well as in inaugurating the “Mediterranean Network for Ground Water Protection”.

The “Protecting Ground Water” project is supported by the European Union’s ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Program.

Solar Cooker Workshop in Hennef / Germany “Environmental Protection and Working for Peace around the Dead Sea”
On a cold October morning with almost no sunshine, eight high school students of the Städtisches Gymnasium in Hennef/Germany and their teachers, met with FoEME representatives Gundi Shachal from Israel, Mohanad Saaideh from Palestine, and Abdel Rahman Sultan from Jordan for a two-day-workshop, initiated by the German-Israeli-Society in Bonn in cooperation with FoEME and the school in Hennef.

There, they discussed water issues with Abed, such as sustainable water solutions – by introducing FoEME’s Jordan River Rehabilitation project as a successful example for transboundarycooperation. Further important topics of this workshop were mud-building techniques with Mohanad, as well as solar energy solutions. The latter topic was based on Gundi´s impressive power point presentation “Solar Cookers for Peace”. All three representatives explained in detail FoEME´s goals, putting the emphasis on the fundamental need for all parties to cooperate on common environmental issues.

The German students, assisted by the FoEME representatives, built a solar cooker in no time at all, and worked diligently on a mud-wall in the student board meeting room. Even if the sun did not show up to boil a pot of water on the finished solar cooker, the whole workshop was a smashing success. This special event for all the participants was an impressive example of what people of different cultural backgrounds can accomplish. Click here for a beautiful set of photos.

Battir – on World Monument Fund’s Watch List 2014
Every two years, the ‘World Monument Fund’ (WMF) an international organization dedicated to the preservation of unique cultural sites, calls international attention to cultural heritage sites around the globe that are at risk. FoEME, continuously looking for additional avenues to protect the cultural landscape of the ancient irrigated terraces of Battir, submitted an application to the WMF 2014 “Watch List”.

The World Monument Fund identified Battir’s ancient irrigated terraced landscape as an endangered cultural site as it is threatened by numerous development plans, one of which is the proposed route of the Separation Barrier that is slated to be built through the middle of the Battir landscape. The WMF also recognized the site as “remarkable for its shared use by both the Israeli and Palestinian communities that live along its borders. Coming together to advocate for the preservation of this remarkable cultural landscape, both communities have realized the value of working collectively to protect the site”. Read more in our press release.

The “Good Water Neighbors” project is funded by USAID’s Conflict Management and Mitigation Program, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the European Union’s Partnership for Peace Program and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Trilingual website
FoEME is excited to announce that we have gone trilingual! Our website is now in English, Arabic and Hebrew. On the top left corner, you can now choose your language of preference.

We do hope that this upgrade will allow Hebrew and Arabic speakers to learn more about FoEME, and to be more engaged in our work. Bear with us if we still have some glitches in the system – – your feedback is welcome!