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...the health of the Jordan River is even worse than it appears. Almost all of the water that used to flow into the river is now diverted for human use. In the 1960’s, the Israeli government blocked off the Jordan river just a few kilometers after it leaves the Sea of Galilee, and later, the Jordanian government dammed the Jordan River’s other main source of water, the Yarmouk River. What now flows in between the Jordan’s banks is almost entirely human sewage, most of it untreated. The river where John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah, a river so sacred it doesn’t need a priest’s blessing to be considered holy water, is now, for all intents and purposes, full of [****] (censored).
The decline of the Jordan River has had profound social and environmental consequences for the Jordan Valley. It has reduced habit for the millions of birds migrating each year from Europe to Africa for whom the Jordan is the last chance to fatten up before crossing the Sahara Desert. It is killing the Dead Sea, which, without replenishment from the Jordan, is dropping about a meter a year. And it is helping to decimate Palestinian towns in the occupied West Bank – home to some of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities – which are slowly dying of thirst without access to the river and without the authority to dig their own wells.
But the plight of the Jordan valley is galvanizing a new generation of environmental activists in the region. For Palestinians, reviving the Jordan River is a necessary part of a national water system for a future Palestinian state. For many idealistic secular Israelis, learning to live with their dry country’s fragile ecosystem is helping them redefine Zionism. And for all the communities that live along the Jordan, sharing its blessings is an opportunity to nurture the region’s fragile peace.
The trick is to convince the national governments that use the Jordan’s water that it they would be better off returning the river to its natural course...
...Friends of the Earth Middle East and architects from Yale University have developed a showcase eco-tourism project: a Peace Park on an island in the middle of the river, where Jordanians and Israelis could meet without passports or visas. The Peace Park would also be a concrete way of fighting the mistrust that push countries to grab as much water as they can. “War will not generate water,” said Nader Al-Khateeb, the Palestinian director of FoEME. “But peace can generate millions of cubic meters of water.”
Originally posted by Maxmars
Who lives near the river? Mostly Muslims, I'm guessing.