On Saturday, the 14th of June, 2014 representatives from Friends of the Earth Middle East “FoEME” attended a workshop on implementing the Arab Peace Initiative at the Jordanian- Palestinian level. The event that was organized by United Religious Initiative – MENA, a non-profit organization that aims at encouraging interfaith cooperation and inter-cultural understanding, in cooperation with The Center for Democracy and Community Development based in East-Jerusalem, falls under the program ‘Building sustainable Peace through the API: Regional Civil Society Initiative’ in line with the EU Partnership for Peace program.
The workshop that was attended by a number of high level officials included extensive sessions regarding the political dimension of the API presented by H.E. Prof. Kamel Abu Jaber: former senator in the Jordanian Parliament and Minister of Foreign Affairs and H.E. Dr. Jawad Anani: former chairman of the Jordanian Economic and Social Council and former Minister of Economy. The sessions also included discussions relating to the societal dimension of the API presented by a number of officials and prominent figures in the academia including Mr. Riad Alkouri: Economist and lecturer at Middlebury College Starr-Middlebury School in the Middle East.
Under the session Jordanian- Palestinian Cooperation, Mr. Abdul Rahman Sultan, FoEMEs Assistant Director elaborated on the importance of regional environmental cooperation emphasizing on the Jordanian crucial and influential role in securing Palestinian water rights since Jordan and Palestine share national, political, social and economic links in addition to shared water and environmental concerns that should be considered in any Israeli – Palestinian negotiations. It is worth mentioning here that FoEME has worked for fair water distribution on multiple national, regional and international levels. One of its latest efforts has been the launching of a campaign titled “Water cannot Wait” that calls on the Israeli and Palestinian governments to move forward on environment and water issues in the negotiations. It is FoEMEs belief, in this respect, that resolving water issues will provide an urgently needed win /win situation and will advance the two-state solution by reaching a Final Accord on one of the final status issues. A water agreement, in addition, will present the opportunity to frame future arrangements relevant to borders, including requiring Israeli recognition of Palestinian water rights to the Jordan River.
The workshop concluded with recommendations on how to formulate, solidify, and promote coordinated strategies between the Palestinians and Jordanians to bring forth the interest of both parties within the framework of the API thus enhancing the chance for regional peace.
This post is contributed by Samar M. Salma, FoEMEs Media Officer at the Amman Office.