10th of November, 2014
Thank you very much for organizers who put together this event.
Minister, ambassadors, organizing organizations, putting the project.
If I may, I want to start with two personal experiences.
Starting from 1977, I was a young officer just out of the service. I did my reserve duty in the Upper Jordan River.
My unit was focused on the northern part of Jordan should a war happen. For 45 days a year, I was responsible for patrolling the border and training my (—– ) for the war that fortunately is never happened.
But more relevant to this conference, I recall I had the opportunity maybe twice or three times to secure a meeting of the Water committee; the Jordanian/ Israeli Water committee that used to meet on monthly bases in a location near the Yarmouk River flows into the Jordan River.
To call the river a river is a big euphemism and I don’t think anywhere they deserve a name of creek, whoever the smallest body of flowing water can be called and the event was almost surrealistic. We had experts coming in from both sides secured by their respective military forces. The yard stick and stones measured flow of water and moved the stones to control the flow between the Jordanian side and the Israeli side and this is how things looked about 40 years ago, and to think then that we ever will be sitting in Jordan in a conference discussing the future of this amazing place was unbelievable. No one could ever believe.
The second recollection I want to recall is in May 1995. May be the only time I had the pleasure of joining my late father on a State visit to Jordan and sit with his team and the late king’s team for joint working meeting and I can say one thing about this meeting, if these two men had more time together, we would have been in a very different place.
The spirit of cooperation, the respect and admiration trickle down to all layers and all levels and I know that we would have been far much further along with projects like this one.
I am here, as been mentioned as the chairman of the Israeli Peace Initiative, a position I am proud to have succeeded Minister Peri who just spoke few minutes ago. IPI goal is to familiarize Israelis with the Arab Peace Initiative. It’s been on the table for the last decade, for more than a decade. We all know API previously the Saudi Peace Initiative first and foremost started here from the Jordanian government. We are focusing on regional cooperation not only for the sake of finally concluding the peace process but trying to understand or make people understand how significant such cooperation can be.
Sadly, I do not know if any other regional project other than this one. This projects significance not only to salvage this very unique place in the world that many all over the world dream of visiting, that so many people rely on its economy that so many people live along its border the longest border that Israel has, and the success of this project can guarantee that the war I referred to earlier that hasn’t happened yet will never happen in the future.
I am proud to be partner with Friends of the Earth organization. We jointly organized large rally in memory of my father about two weeks ago to promote areas of regional cooperation, to promote the API, to promote the potential that can benefit everyone in this region from such cooperation.
Thank you very much.
Transcribed by Samar M. Salma, EcoPeace Middle East Media Officer stationed in Amman.
The speech is transcribed to the best of my abilities, space between brackets indicate that i could not recognize the word mentioned.
Conference Photography by Samar M. Salma
Peace Treaty Photography downloaded from google.