Regional Youth Camp in Jordan
On February 5th and 6th, the Good Water Neighbors (GWN) project organized a regional youth camp at the Sharhabil bin Hassneh EcoPark in Jordan. The participants consisted of alumni and youth from the Jordan Valley, Irbid, Kishon and Muqata watersheds. They learned about the importance of cross-border cooperation and environmental peacebuilding while hiking and enjoying the beauty of the area at this time of year. As one camper put it “The camp gave an added value to studying in class because it connected us to water and ecology, finding out about ourselves and others that broke stereotypes and prejudice, because it is the first time we are with different people from us.”

Cross Border Meeting of Gilboa Council and Jalameh
As part of our GWN Priority Initiative Project, representatives from the Gilboa Regional Council (Israel) met with the Mayor of Jalameh (Palestine) on February 3rd to discuss and promote cooperation on water and sewage capabilities. The participants visited the new wastewater treatment facility treating effluents from around the Gilboa region in Israel. This marks another step in finding solutions to sewage issues and rehabilitation efforts of the Kishon River.

Springs Preservation Course
On February 12th, EcoPeace and the Mate Yehuda Regional Council took part in a course on spring’s preservation in the hills outside of Jerusalem. 25 participants toured 3 springs in the area; they heard explanations about the life and ecology of the springs; saw how water monitoring is carried out; learned about the canals and pools system surrounding the springs, and more. The intensive work preserving the springs is inspiring, and shows how communities can come together to preserve their natural heritage.

EcoPeace’s Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

European Parliament Members Get a Glimpse of the Jordan River
Members of a European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Palestine took part in a Jordan River tour that included the Qasr El Yehud Baptism Site and our Auja EcoCenter in Auja, Palestine on February 11th. The tour was led by our Palestinian and Israeli Directors and included information about specific projects that can be advanced from our Regional NGO Master Plan.

Auja Stream Tour
A group of Europeans and North Americans gathered for an alternative tourist experience close to our Auja EcoCenter on February 14th. They spent time learning about, and better understanding, the challenges of cross-border streams. The group hiked through the Jordan Valley along the Auja stream, had a tasty picnic lunch prepared by our EcoCenter staff, discussed the water challenges in the area and EcoPeace’s efforts to improve the situation.

Continuing our “Going Global” Efforts
EcoPeace was invited to share our environmental peacemaking experiences in yet another area of the world, the Vardar/Axios River Basin that flows between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The conference discussed sustainable water and river basin resource management in Thessaloniki, Greece on February 16th and 17th. For more information on the River Basin, you can visit this website.

EcoPeace’s 1st Regional Tour Guide Training on the Jordan River
Another angle to further disseminate the story and the need to rehabilitate the Lower Jordan River: EcoPeace organized a 3-day study tour in Jordan for Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian Tour Guides (who focus on religious tourism), visiting sacred sites that exemplify the importance of the River for Christians, Jews and Muslims, so that they can include it in their tour narratives. The training also included feedback on a soon-to-be-released publication, “Come Together at the River – A Tour Guide’s Guide to the Sacred Sites of the Jordan River”. Stay tuned!

Touring the North
Earlier this month, Mira Edelstein, EcoPeace’s Jordan River Project Coordinator in Tel Aviv, spoke to a group of Evangelical leaders from the U.S.A. at the Yardenit Baptism site on the Jordan River. The discussion centered on the responsibility we all have – Israelis, Jordanians, Palestinians – Jews, Christians, Muslims – to work together towards the rehabilitation of the Jordan River, for the benefit of us all.

Are you in Brussels on March 3rd? Come join us!
EcoPeace is pleased to be invited by the S&D group in the European Parliament to speak at a Seminar entitled “Water, Environment Protection and Trust Building in the Middle East”, where we will give an overview of the work we have been doing for the rehabilitation of the Lower Jordan River.

EcoPeace’s Jordan River Rehabilitation project, including faith-based activities, are supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and the Osprey Foundation.

Dead Sea Swim
EcoPeace’s Jordanian Director dived into the salty water of the Dead Sea at the beginning of the month to practice for his swim across the Dead Sea this November. The only way to participate in such a feat requires him to wear a special mask protecting his face from the salt content of the water. This picture shows the Director in the water heading towards the main group to continue swimming as one united cross border team. Stay tuned for more updates throughout the Spring and Summer as the event nears!

Presentation at the American International School
The Israeli Director presented EcoPeace’s cross border philosophy to a group of young leaders participating in the Model United Nations conference at the American International School in Israel. The Committee Chair thought the presentation was “thought-provoking and impressive…and added that extra dimension of real world expertise to their experience of the issues conserving the environment.”