UPDATES

Aussie ex-pat brings Murray-Darling spirit to Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians

Mar 29, 2012 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Aussie ex-pat brings Murray-Darling spirit to Israelis
news_item/a5.jpg

On a family rip back to Australia, Gidon Bromberg, an Australian environmental activist now living in Israel, picked up a copy of Chris Hammer’s book The River: A Journey Through The Murray-Darling. Bromberg was inspired by Hammer’s description of the process that led to the Federal Government passing legislation in 2007 to protect the river basin; so inspired, in fact, that he decided to bring Hammer to Israel and attempt to replicate the feat and help the long-suffering Jordan River.

Bromberg has written about this in today’s Jerusalem Post.

The Australian model reflected real political will that we at Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) are still trying to create for the lower Jordan River. Years of advocacy efforts in the region have led to sewage being removed from the river, a first commitment for a limited fresh water release and a FoEME-led master plan being launched recently. But FoEME’s rehabilitation call is still generally seen as unrealistic and unachievable due to water scarcity and the national conflicts over water.

When I wrote to Chris Hammer inquiring as to whether he would come to the region and be willing to speak before Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian decision makers about the political will created in Australia, a land of water scarcity and water conflict between states, he immediately responded with a “yes, I’ll do it.” With the support of the Australian Government through her embassies in Tel Aviv and Amman and the Representative Office in Ramallah, Chris has this week completed a set of round-table discussions with parliamentarians, government ministries, scientists and local NGOs in each city.

While Bromberg is — understandably — focussed on his work with the river, it is worth noting that he is glossing over what could be, in political terms, a major step forward:

While typical skepticism remains, clear statements were made during the round-tables in Amman, Tel Aviv and Ramallah that each side would be willing to join the effort of river rehabilitation if only they had a partner on the other side. Some would say a lack of trust remains the greatest hurdle to political will.

If Bromberg successfully brings the Palestinians, Jordanians and Israelis together to improve the environment, he will have made an unprecedented diplomatic breakthrough. Until now, the three sides have only been in the same place during tense negotiations about the conflict — none of which have been particularly successful — and have failed to work together on matters in which they have a shared interest. For example, a bid last year to make the Dead Sea one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of The World’ failed, largely because the governments of Israel and Jordan and the Palestinian Authority could not coordinate a campaign, even though success would have boosted tourism for all three.

Supporting Bromberg’s program is a very positive decision by the Australian Government and may have beneficial effects beyond the environment. Bringing together all three nations living along the Jordan River to work on something that is beneficial for all of us could build relationships and instill trust that would allow more controversial topics to be broached with less hostility.

Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Tags:

RELATED ARTICLES


The Iranian protest movement against the ruling theocratic regime has certainly been inspiring - but is it a noble but ultimately futile effort, or can it lead to regime change? (Image: Shutterstock, DigitalAssetArt)

Could the Iranian protest movement succeed?

Dec 15, 2022 | Update
(Photo: Shutterstock)

The politics of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar

Nov 22, 2022 | Update
Taraneh Alidoosti, one of Iran's most famous actresses, appearing publicly without her headscarf and holding a sign with the Kurdish words for "Women, Life, Freedom". Despite the regime's bloody repression, Alidoosti has vowed to remain in her homeland "at any price" and support the families of those killed or arrested in the protest crackdown  (Photo: Instagram)

Iran’s protest wave continues 

Nov 11, 2022 | Update
8c2ebfa2 C3e1 A33a 9cdc 07bd16e00b2f

After election win, Netanyahu set to be Israeli PM again

Nov 4, 2022 | Update
Israelis are going to the polls yet again on Nov. 1, the fifth Israeli election in less than four years. Will this vote break the political deadlock? (Image: Flickr, IDF)

Israel goes to the polls – again

Oct 28, 2022 | Update
The complex Israel-Lebanon maritime boundary dispute appears to have been settled after many years of negotiations, with Israel accepting the green line in the above diagram, except within five kilometres of the coast (This map was originally published on the MEES website).

Israel-Lebanon maritime border agreement

Oct 13, 2022 | Update

SIGN UP FOR AIJAC EMAILS

RECENT POSTS

A monument in Buenos Aires to the infamous AMIA bombing of 1994 (Image: Twitter)

The Last Word: A grim anniversary

The ANZACs in Palestine with their famous and much-loved “Waler” horses (Image: Wikipedia)

The ANZACs in Hebrew

Early morning visit: Itamar Ben-Gvir on the Temple Mount (Image: Twitter)

Deconstruction Zone: The outrageousness of Temple Mount “outrage” 

IDF forces in Jenin, 2002

Israel will continue to act in self-defence against Palestinian terror

Netanyahu (centre) with Defence Minister Yoav Galant (second from right), other officials, and top IDF brass (Image: IGPO/Flickr)

Matters of Security

A monument in Buenos Aires to the infamous AMIA bombing of 1994 (Image: Twitter)

The Last Word: A grim anniversary

The ANZACs in Palestine with their famous and much-loved “Waler” horses (Image: Wikipedia)

The ANZACs in Hebrew

Early morning visit: Itamar Ben-Gvir on the Temple Mount (Image: Twitter)

Deconstruction Zone: The outrageousness of Temple Mount “outrage” 

IDF forces in Jenin, 2002

Israel will continue to act in self-defence against Palestinian terror

Netanyahu (centre) with Defence Minister Yoav Galant (second from right), other officials, and top IDF brass (Image: IGPO/Flickr)

Matters of Security

SORT BY TOPICS