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The Middle East is famously a place of paradoxes, and perhaps the oddest paradox of all is this: the Dead Sea is dying. Edward Stourton, who has been to Israel to investigate, has found the Dead Sea is now shrinking at a terrifying speed with the sea level dropping by more than three feet a year.
Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians - everyone wants a bit of Jordan water - and by the time the river reaches its end, there is almost none left. At its mouth, two strides with rolled up trousers can take you from Israel across the river border into Jordan.
Nature is taking its revenge in truly Biblical style. Along the sea's western edge I found a landscape pitted with vast sink holes, some as deep as 26m (85ft).
There is a plan to stop the Dead Sea dying. Water would be drawn from the Red Sea in the south, it would be desalinated to provide precious fresh water for the region, and a Red-Dead channel would take the salt water waste on to replenish the Dead Sea.
On the way it would drive a hydro-electric plant, and create 2,000 jobs.
The champions argue it would also promote co-operation between Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians. The opponents say the environmental impact is unpredictable and could be disastrous.
The World Bank is studying the plan, so we will see. In the meantime we are left with Gura Berger's words:
"If we cry enough," she said, "perhaps we can refill it with our tears."
The Red Sea-Dead Sea Conduit (Canal) (sometimes called the Two Seas Canal) is a proposed conduit (pipes and brine canal) which would run from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. It will provide potable water to Jordan, Israel, and the Palestine Authority, [and] bring sea water to stabilize the Dead Sea water level and generate electricity to support the energy needs of the project. This proposal has a role in plans to create institutions for economic cooperation between Israelis, Jordanians, and Palestinians, in the Dead Sea [region] and through the Peace Valley Plan.
The Mediterranean-Dead Sea Canal (MDSC) is a proposed project to dig a canal from the Mediterranean Sea to the Dead Sea, taking advantage of the 400-metre difference in water level between the seas. It is not to be confused with the Red Sea-Dead Sea Canal (RSDSC). The project could correct the drop in the level of the Dead Sea observed in recent years. The canal could also be used to generate hydroelectric power because of surface difference and maybe by salinity gradient power, and desalinate water by reverse osmosis.