Holy land Trust (HLT) signed an agreement with the Dead Sea and Arava Science Center (DSASC) as a sub awardee for a USAID funded project called Water Matters. Water Matters is proposed by a consortium of Palestinian, Israeli, and Jordanian public and private organizations with shared objectives in mitigating conflict by sustainably developing the Dead Sea - Red Sea region. The project will bring together 3 groups of people in our communities: Youth; Eco-tourism Entrepreneurs; Key Community Leaders. These groups will separately and jointly learn about conflict mitigation and cooperation, water, and sustainability, through meetings, trainings, conferences, information days, and hands-on projects.
The goal of the project is to strengthen a professional and personal relationship among: youth, entrepreneurs and leaders in the Israeli, Palestinian, and Jordanian communities promoting people-to people peace building at the environmental level, an issue that effects all. Such relationships will facilitate healthy channels to mitigate conflict and encourage cooperation on water management and economic development in the Red Sea-Dead Sea region.
Water Matters (WM) offers a platform that brings people together to 1) build "human" bridges across borders; 2) work on issues of common environmental concern; and 3) develop skills for sustained, improved livelihoods. Central to this endeavor will be the meaningful participation of women as actors, leaders, and decision-makers.
The project will strengthen the Dead-Red region by creating transformative dynamics that ease tensions and lay the groundwork for long-term peace building processes, benefiting people on all sides of the sea.
In February 2015, after years of deliberations, Israel and Jordan signed an agreement to establish the Red Sea Dead Sea Conveyance Project (RSDSCP) comprised of:
(1) construction of a desalination plant in the southern Jordanian port of Aqaba that will desalinate Red Sea water for Israel and Jordan
(2) pumping brine from the desalination plant through a 112-mile pipeline into the Dead Sea to restore its water levels, currently declining at a rate of about 3 feet a year.
Although Palestinians were party to the original terms of understanding and feasibility studies of 2005, they were not signatories to this recent deal.
Defined as peripheral in all three countries, the Dead-Red area has a history of low economic development. Moreover, a geopolitical disconnection between the two bodies of water is distinct despite socio-economic, geographic, cultural, and environmental linkages among riparian communities. Much attention has been given to reviving the Dead Sea by rehabilitating its source, the River Jordan, yet this approach overlooks the existing continuum between communities south of the Dead Sea to the Red Sea. Meanwhile, communities located along this southern stretch have genuine environmental concerns that still need addressing. Within this context, the project’s goal is to strengthen the Dead-Red region by creating transformative dynamics that ease tensions and lay the groundwork for long-term peace building processes, benefiting people on all sides of the seas.
Holy Land Trust role:
HLT will mainly be responsible for providing training in:
- Non-linear leadership development
- Nonviolent Communication
- Palestinian recruitment
- Facilitate eco-tourism components
Amira Musallam: Palestinian project manager and coordinator.
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