One of the more inspiring aspects of the environmental movement is the way its universal focus naturally breaks down barriers between peoples and nations. In an earlier post, I wrote about the Arava Institute, a center in Israel that promotes environmental cooperation by working towards peace and sustainable development. Here’s another noteworthy environmental project from that part of the world:
According to a recent article in the Jerusalem Post, the Friends of the Earth Middle East has brokered a memorandum of understanding between Palestinian and Israeli towns that share a water source but are separated by the Green Line and the security barrier:
Friends of the Earth Middle East sponsored the event as part of its Good Water Neighbors project, which operates under the “basic understanding among all people that water is the source of life,” said Gidon Bromberg, the Friends’ Israel director. “Therefore we have a mutual dependence on managing those shared water resources. Whether in times of conflict or… in times of peace.”
“The environment knows no borders,” said Friends of the Earth Middle East Palestinian director Nadr el-Khatib.
Friends of the Earth Middle East is an organization eminently worthy of our attention and support. Originally founded in 1994 as “EcoPeace” at an historic meeting in Taba, Egypt, FoEME came about as environmental NGOs from the Middle East met with the common goal of furthering sustainable development and peace in their region. In this historic moment, Egyptian, Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian environmentalists agreed to join forces to promote environmentalism in the regional development agenda. As of 1998, EcoPeace officially became the Middle East chapter of Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest international network of environmental organizations.
The photo of the Israeli and Palestinian mayors above about says it all. Could it be that the environmental movement will be the ones to show us the way out of this intractable and miserable conflict?