On June 21, 2011, Friends of the Earth Middle East arrived to the Knesset early in the morning excited and ready to engage with members of the Knesset and to urge action to be taken to rehabilitate, protect and secure our shared water future. On Knesset Environment Day, FoEME arrived with 42 participants and staff, including 11 Jordanian, 11 Palestinian, and 11 Israeli residents of the region to share their stories and demand that water cease being held hostage to the stalled negotiations to members of the Knesset.
The residents told stories of the unequal divide of water access, where Israelis receive 80% of shared water and the Palestinians receive 20%. It is not uncommon that water does not flow from taps in Palestine. On the other hand sewage and waste management has largely been overlooked, resulting in cesspits that overflow into the streets and valleys that flow of raw sewage polluting the shared water basins. Residents were able to tell members of the Knesset that the peace treaty with Jordan and lack of peace with Palestine is failing the Jordan River that continues to dry up.
Participants attended forums including the interior-environment committee and the environmental lobby discussion and attended individual meetings with 10 parliamentarians including Tzipi Livni (Kadima), Minister of the Environment Eldan (Likud), Eitan Kabel (Labor), Ahmed Tibi (Balad), Yoel Hasson (Kadima), Dov Khanin (Hadash), Rueven Rivilin (Likud), Shlomo Mola (Kadima), Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), Afo Aghbaria (Hadash), and Marina Solodkin (Kadim).
Our message was heard loud and clear, “Water cannot wait!”
This post was contributed by Joshua Zuckerman, FoEME Social Media Coordinator in Tel Aviv. Joshua is currently finishing his Masters of Arts in Coexistence and Conflict.