Israel signs deal to clean part of Jordan River

i24NEWS

2 min read
The Jordan River estuary of the Sea of Galilee near the settlement of Karkom, northern Israel, on December 8, 2017.
AP Photo/Oded BaliltyThe Jordan River estuary of the Sea of Galilee near the settlement of Karkom, northern Israel, on December 8, 2017.

'The Jordan River, much due to conflict, has been turned into little more than a sewage canal'

An organization is bringing together Israeli, Palestinian, and Jordanian environmentalists to work together in preventing sewage from running into the Jordan River, part of which forms the Israeli-Jordanian border.

Led by EcoPeace Middle East, the ambitious plan aims to clean the Jordan River, a 156-mile-long river that flows roughly from north to south through Israel’s Sea of Galilee and onto the Dead Sea. 

“The Jordan River, much due to conflict, has been turned into little more than a sewage canal,” Gidon Bromberg, the Israeli director of the EcoPeace Middle East, told i24NEWS.

“Over 95 percent of the freshwater that used to flow down the lower Jordan has been diverted – half by Israel, the other half by Syria and Jordan,” Bromberg said. 

He explained how with the removal of freshwater being funneled into the river, “all sides started to dump sewage, agricultural runoff, fish farm waste,” saying no one, until now, took responsibility.

“The [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict has been at large responsible for the demise of the river,” Bromberg noted.

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Approved by Israel’s cabinet on Tuesday, the plan will see 50 million cubic meters of freshwater from the Sea of Galilee channeled into the Jordan River each year to replace its sewage, according to Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar.

“Although it is historic, it's still a first step. More cooperation is needed which involves Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians to see this come through,” Bromberg said.

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