OPINION: Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian cooperation for peace, sustainability

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OPINION: Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian cooperation for peace, sustainability

Gidon Bromberg of EcoPeace Middle East reflects on how the region's peoples are working together for a brighter future

A Palestinian boy looks behind a wall separating Jewish part and Palestinian part of the West Bank. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
A Palestinian boy looks behind a wall separating Jewish part and Palestinian part of the West Bank. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Last December, we could never have imagined the events that would come to shape our region and world in 2020. At EcoPeace Middle East, we pictured 2020 as full of travel across Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. We expected to meet up with our regional and international partners often and to forge ahead on our mission to achieve water security region wide. The COVID-19 pandemic turned those plans upside down, but it also transformed how many Palestinians, Jordanians and Israelis now envision their shared future.

At EcoPeace, we approached the circumstances of the global pandemic, geo-political setbacks and ever worsening climate crisis as an opportunity to reassess our impact in the region and reallocate our time and energy into new programs that would meet the needs of this moment. While physical meetings were limited, we explored what we could do with technology to engage our stakeholders, from high school students and teachers to experts and decision makers. By creating an interactive, virtual world based on gaming technology, our participants can now reimagine borders and time. Suddenly, there is a platform where Palestinians can “travel” to Israel and Jordan and Israelis and Jordanians to Palestine. Places that would otherwise be restricted have transformed into regional classrooms, meeting halls, and even campfires. We can now travel back in time and as an example see what the Jordan River looked like sixty years ago when it was fully flowing.  

EcoPeace Middle East’s Gidon Bromberg

Our virtual programming—our work generally—was only possible with cross-border partnerships and regional cooperation. These values—equality, shared society, coexistence—underpin our work at EcoPeace. They also underpin the work of the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP).

ALLMEP brings the peacebuilding field together, showing that while our methodologies might be different, we all work towards one common goal. I am proud to have been a founding board member of ALLMEP, and that EcoPeace was one of the network’s first members. During the pandemic, ALLMEP released their COVID-19 Impact Report, highlighting the work that we and other peacebuilding organizations did in response to the pandemic. Additionally, thanks to ALLMEP, we were able to continue educating policymakers by briefing them on the report as well as the impact of the pandemic on the region.

 We showed stakeholders the critical work we continued to do on the ground despite the challenges. In face of these hard times, ALLMEP’s advocacy has ensured that funding continues to flow into the field. After ten years of ALLMEP campaigning, the $250m Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Fund (MEPPA) was included in the US Senate Appropriations bill just a few weeks ago, leaving ALLMEP on the cusp of securing the largest-everinvestment in Israeli-Palestinian peace. And, in recent weeks, the fund was enthusiastically—and unanimously—endorsed by British politicians from across the political spectrum in a Westminster debate. 

I am proud to be joining ALLMEP on December 15th, alongside over two dozen other peacebuilding organizations. Our work will be amplified and championed by some of the leading politicians in the United States and Europe– including the architects of MEPPA, Congresswoman Nita Lowey and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry- as well as figures such as Sir Patrick Stewart, Laëtitia Eiïdo and Jason Isaacs. I hope you can join us.

As the year winds down, we don’t know what 2021 will bring. I do know that EcoPeace Middle East, ALLMEP, and our community of peacebuilders will continue to carry the torch and shine a light on the prospects for peace. 

  • Join ALLMEP for their first virtual gathering “Shine a Light: A Global Livestream” and learn more about EcoPeace and other ALLMEP members, together with leading politicians from across the globe as well as VIP guests from the world of entertainment. December 15th, at 10am PST | 1pm EST | 6pm GMT | 7pm CET | 8pm JLM 
  • Gidon Bromberg is the co-founder and 26 year Israeli co-director of EcoPeace Middle East a regional environmental organization bring together Palestinians, Jordanians and Israelis.

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