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Jordan River Conference
an article by Elana Rozenman for Ecopeace - Friends of the Earth - Middle East

On Nov 10 – 12, I represented the TRUST WIN (Women’s Interfaith Network) at the FoEME – Friends of the Earth Middle East Conference “Rehabilitation of the Jordan River: A Commitment of Faith” held at the Dead Sea in Jordan. Over one hundred Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian and internationals gathered to learn about and support the rehabilitation of the Jordan River. It was the first time that many of the Jordanian and Palestinian clergy had met with an Israeli rabbi. Once again, environmental issues enabled clergy and religious activists to transcend the differences that divide us, and to become unified in the spiritual demand to safeguard creation that all religions aspire to.

click on photo to enlarge

We know about and read about the Jordan River in our Holy Books, but we heard how the Lower Jordan River is being destroyed by diverting 96% of it’s waters, and polluting what’s left. We visited the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism and watched pilgrims immersing themselves with no awareness of the pollution they in which they stood.

At the Conference we heard the good news that there are plans and possibilities to bring the Jordan River back to life – but it depends on the Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian governments to take action. In their initiative to reach out to faith leaders and faith communities for support, FoEME has developed Toolkits for each of the three Abrahamic Faiths to learn and to take action. At the Conference, we met in our faith groups to go over the materials and recommend improvements. These valuable tools enable faith groups to study their own faith’s connection to the Jordan River, and to devise appropriate ways to work towards it’s rehabilitation.

We heard several talks and panels about local and interfaith efforts for the environment. I was satisfied that although there are no women clergy, there were many women speakers who added interesting perspectives to the discussions.

At the end of the Conference, all the clergy and the other participants signed the Covenant for the Jordan River.

In the early mornings and evenings, many of us took dips in the Dead Sea and enjoyed the beautiful views of the sea, the mountains, and Israel across the water….

At night there were traditional Jordanian dances on the beautiful promenade above the Dead Sea. Many valuable connections were made and plans for the future were set


Question(s) related to this article:

How can a culture of peace be established in the Middle East?,

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Here is another view of the Hamas/Fatah agreement, sent to CPNN by the Palestinian peace activist, Mazin Qumsiyeh:

People asked me about the latest "reconciliation" agreement between Fatah and Hamas. Most Palestinians here are skeptical of the sincerity of leadership in Fatah and Hamas and most still think these leaders are driven by narrow factional and personal interests than by interest of Palestine; noticeably absent was the popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the largest secular faction after Fatah. Women leaders also complained about the exclusion of women voices and youth were also absent as most of those politicians are my age or older. In my talks (and I give several every week to visiting delegations and local people), I emphasize that people must wake up and push politicians to do the right thing. That is how history changes: via people especially youth and women. Of course, many wish that politicians show some leadership for positive change but we the people have to act. Meanwhile, we have an ongoing slow genocide of the Palestinian people. 7.4 million are refugees/displaced people and that number keeps growing. . ...more.

This report was posted on December 13, 2013.