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Israel-Palestinian peace requires realism on Jordan Valley

Trilateral cooperation projects to save the Dead Sea and the Jordan River must be accompanied by transferring parts of the Jordan Valley to Palestinian sovereignty.
Tourists walk near evaporation basins in the southern Dead Sea December 16, 2008. Warnings continue that the Dead Sea is slowly but surely drying up, and could be gone completely in 50 years if no action is taken.The water level is dropping at close to one metre (three feet) per year due to a sharp decrease in inflow from the Jordan and other rivers whose waters now irrigate fields.  Picture taken December 16, 2008.  REUTERS/Baz Ratner (ISRAEL ENVIRONMENT TRAVEL) - RTXCYP2
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The upcoming Israeli-Palestinian agreement outline being prepared by US Secretary of State John Kerry has put the Jordan Valley in the spotlight. That forsaken region, which is part of the Oslo Accord’s Area C, is one of the central diplomatic-security issues to be resolved between the sides.

Unfortunately, nature refuses to accommodate the political timetable. The importance of the Jordan River to the three monotheistic religions, to which half of the world’s population adheres, has not prevented the human abuse of the river in the last few decades. The Christian belief that John baptized the first believers in the Jordan River, the Muslim tradition according to which the companions of the Prophet Muhammad were buried there and the Jewish story about the people of Israel who crossed the river on their way to the Land of Canaan — none of these protected the river from drying up.

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