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FoEME's Good Water Neighbors project brought together 25 women from the Giloba Regional Council in Israel and the Jenin / Jalameh community in Palestine on June 6th, for the first of a series of planned meetings.
The women toured together their shared water resource, the Kishon Stream, today heavily polluted, and discussed joint rehabilitation prospects. After lunch, the women held a bilingual acquaintance session, breaking down barriers and forging new friendships.
Youth "Water Trustees" from the Jordan Valley Regional Council in Israel, together with "Water Trustees" from their neighboring community in Jordan, spent the weekend of June 10-11 together recording the "Jordan River song" that was jointly written in a previous Regional Youth Camp. The song describes the state of the Lower Jordan River and the shared responsibility we all have to rehabilitate it. It was recorded in a professional studio, in both Hebrew and Arabic, with 'rising stars' from FoEME's Good Water Neighbors project!
The chorus: "It really doesn't matter who we are; we all have the right to live with hope; with pure water provided for all; as an example of Good Neighbors to the world…. Our role in the world is changing; as Friends of the Earth we're bridging the divide; the Lord gave us water as a gift; we should wisely preserve it for our benefit".
Hebron sewage tour with AFD
On June 12th FoEME hosted the Director of the French Development Agency (AFD), Mr. Herve Conan, on a field tour to Palestinian and Israeli communities along the Hebron Stream. The meeting followed the AFD commitment to fund the feasibility study for the Hebron Waste Water Treatment Plant and to co-fund its building.
Mr. Conan, accompanied by Palestinian residents from Yatta and FoEME staff, first met with representatives of the Yatta municipality, then crossed to Israel and met with representatives of local Jewish and Bedouin communities. Mr. Conan shared with the group the objectives and challenges faced by the donor community involved in water and sewage projects in this region.
Youth cross border Yatta / Eshkol meeting
Youth "Water Trustees" of the Good Water Neighbors project from the communities of Yatta, Palestine and Eshkol Regional Council, Israel, met together to tour their shared water basin. They began at the Shima checkpoint, where both the Palestinians themselves, as well as the Hebron stream, cross the Green Line. The tour continued downstream to the Beer Sheva Wadi and then to the Besor River. The group walked the ancient water path, part of the Eshkol Neighbors Path, learning that the River continues into Wadi Gaza and to the Mediterranean Sea.
At the end of the day, the youth concluded that now they "really understand the meaning of being part of one water basin".
EcoGarden ceremony in Ein Carem
Just before the end of the school year, "Water Trustees" from the Ein Carem Regional School celebrated the opening of their ecological garden. The students have been working for the last 2 years to turn a neglected area near the school's parking lot into a community garden and outdoor classroom for eco-building.
The "Water Trustees" first cleaned up the area and then planted native water-saving vegetation and made benches out of recycled litter. The second stage included transferring an old chicken coop into an eco-friendly space with a rain harvesting system attached to the new roof, replacing the old asbestos roof.
The Global Water Dance event, held worldwide on June 25th, is a model of how to use participatory art-making to raise consciousness about environmental problems and how to bring people together to work on solving these problems. Participants and viewers of Global Water Dances learn about the critical role of humans in protecting water supplies.
FoEME gathered together 35 Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian youth to "dance" in the Lower Jordan River, as part of their campaign messaging for raising awareness of the poor state of the River and calling on our governments to work towards its rehabilitation.
End of Year Water Trustees Event in Jerusalem and Auja
On June 13th and 14th 2011, FoEME’s Tel Aviv office hosted an event at the Science Museum in Jerusalem, while FoEME’s Bethlehem office hosted an event at our Auja Environmental Center to celebrate the hard work of FoEME’s Youth "Water Trustees".
For the last year FoEME’s Youth from the Good Water Neighbors communities in Jordan, Israel and Palestine have worked with their teachers and local FoEME field staff to map their local water resources and hazard sites using Geographic Information System (GIS) tools. More info on this blog post and Photos of the event on this Flicker page.
See our CGIS project webpage for instructions on how to visit the GOOGLE EARTH layer of the environmental hazards that were identified by the Youth Water Trustees in their communities, including a virtual tour of the Neighbors Paths of each community.
The Good Water Neighbors project is supported by USAID, SIDA and the Belgium Foreign Ministry's Peace Building Desk.
The Community GIS project is supported by the EU Partnerships for Peace program.
Residents attending Environment Day at Knesset
A 'first-ever' delegation of Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli residents came to the Israeli Parliament's "Environment Day" on Tuesday, June 21st to participate in the days' events. They attended sessions of the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, the Social & Environmental Lobby, and then held a series of meetings with 12 Members of Parliament.
The joint delegation consisted of 11 Jordanian, 11 Palestinian and 10 Israeli residents from communities that share transboundary water resources such as the Dead Sea, the Mt. Aquifer and the Jordan River. Their message - to promote cooperation between the governments of Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority on better water management and fairer allocation of the regions shared water resources - rang loud and clear throughout the Knesset on this unique day.
FoEME organized a 2 day cross border meeting on June 27th and 28th with 30 community members from Jordan, Israel and Palestine active in the "TAP" project. Participants learned about the difficult water situation in Auja, the depletion of the Dead Sea, and wastewater treatment efforts in Jenin.
In Auja, TAP participants toured the once flowing Wadi Auja and saw first hand the consequences of unfair water sharing policies that have left the Wadi and the spring nearly dry. At the Dead Sea, participants observed the West Bank’s 37 kilometer shoreline and the Sea's depletion. In Jenin, TAP participants toured the unfinished waste water treatment plant and met with the Governor of Jenin, urging him to take action to secure our environmental heritage and protect our water resources.
The "Transboundary Advocacy to Parliamentarians" project is supported by the European Union's Partnerships for Peace program.