Israel and Jordan have just signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on the rehabilitation of the Jordan River, which over decades of neglect has become more polluted, has suffered from the diversion of freshwater that formerly fed into the river, and has endured, too, years of drought, all of which have led to a loss of biodiversity and lessening of water volume.
Who could object to such a project that fosters cooperation between Israel and Jordan in a joint effort to rescue the river from further degradation and drought, and bring back, it is estimated, half of the biodiversity that has been lost? Who could oppose this project will help the natural environment to recover, provide greater access to water for parched Jordanians, and create a more attractive site for tourists, including Christian religious pilgrims, whose spending will be especially welcome by Jordan and Palestinians?
Well, BDS could, for it sees this cooperation between Israel and Jordan on an environmental project, one which will also require the cooperation of the PA, as a sinister Zionist plot to push for “environmental normalization” (between Israel and Jordan), which BDS denounces as “cooperating with the Zionist entity under the guise of improving the environment, whether through reducing pollution, recycling, increasing access to water, or reversing climate change.”
“Under the guise of improving the environment”? No guise is intended by those cunning Zionists. On Israel’s part, there is simply a straightforward desire to improve — to rehabilitate — a river whose steady degradation has been too long ignored, a river that should be as much Jordan’s concern as it is Israel’s.
EcoPeace, which helped to bring about this agreement, is a unique organization that brings together Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli environmentalists. More on the EcoPeace statement about the MOU, and the sour reaction of BDS to the MOU, can be found here: “‘Progressive’ BDS opposes Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians working together to save the Jordan River,” Elder of Ziyon, November 18, 2022:
From EcoPeace’s website:
EcoPeace Middle East is a unique organization that brings together Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli environmentalists.
Our primary objective is the promotion of cooperative efforts to protect our shared environmental heritage. In so doing, we seek to advance both sustainable regional development and the creation of necessary conditions for lasting peace in our region. EcoPeace has offices in Amman, Ramallah, and Tel-Aviv.
On Thursday they announced that Israel and Jordan signed a MOU to rehabilitate the Jordan River, an initiative that will require cooperation with the Palestinian Authority as well.
“Jordan River rehabilitation is a critical climate adaptation measure that can help bring back 50% of the biodiversity lost because of decades of pollution and freshwater diversion,” the group said. “With the river basin experiencing consecutive years of climate-related drought, a rehabilitated river can be the basis for creating regional climate resilience. The river being holy to half of humanity can provide much-needed jobs through tourism and pilgrimage, especially for Jordanian and Palestinian communities.”
Sounds like a win-win, right? Helping the environment, helping the Palestinian and Jordanian economies, even helping tourists and pilgrims who want to visit the Jordan. Who can object?
The Jordanian branch of the BDS movement issued an angry statement of their own, saying that the project “works to integrate Jordanian and Palestinian youth into environmental programs and joint workshops, along with Zionist groups coming from the occupied territories.”
What a sinister plot by the Zionists, inveigling innocent “Jordanian and Palestinian youth into environmental programs and joint workshops” with “Zionist groups.” Will the Zionists stop at nothing in their attempts to undermine hostility to them by offering help to the Arabs in rehabilitating the natural environment – in this case, reclamation of the Jordan River that will help both Jordanians and Palestinians?
It [the BDS] accused EcoPeace of “environmental normalization” which they define as “cooperating with the Zionist entity under the guise of improving the environment, whether through reducing pollution, recycling, increasing access to water, or reversing climate change.”
They said Israel “uses environmental normalization as a means of public relations, and as a cover to hide its violations of human rights, and to cover up its environmental crimes against the Palestinians and their lands.”
So, according to BDS, anything Israel does to help the environment is terrible because it covers up the awful things Israel does to the environment.
In other words, better that the Jordan River dries up than allowing Israel to be involved in saving it.
There is no sinister Zionist plot. Israel would like to clean up and revive, and bring more freshwater into, the Jordan River for good and sufficient reasons of its own. And it is glad to be able, at the same time, to help the country of Jordan to join with it in the same effort of rehabilitating the river, and increasing the abundance of water the river can provide both for agricultural use and for human consumption. That effort will also require the cooperation of the Palestinians. EcoPeace is an organization that has no political agenda, but is solely involved in repairing environmental degradation. Israel is trying to undo the damage that has been done to the Jordan River over many decades, and is not trying to hide its responsibility for some of that damage. Most of the river’s pollution appears to have come from the Jordanians and Palestinians, though Israel will tactfully refrain from pointing that out.
BDS has displayed, not for the first time, its unhinged hysteria and hate for anything that might bring Jews and Arabs together for the common good. The movement would apparently prefer that the Jordanians and Palestinians living on the east and west banks of the Jordan continue to endure the river’s increasing pollution and decreasing volume of water. BDS doesn’t really care about the welfare of the Palestinians; its only interest is in preventing Israel from doing anything that might make the Jewish state look good. Fortunately, this project supported by EcoPeace is unlikely to be derailed. And the river will be rehabilitated by the joint efforts of the riparians on both banks – Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians – who quite sensibly will dismiss the ludicrous complaints of Jordan’s branch of the hate-addled BDS.