UPDATE 6 PM ISRAEL TIME WEDNESDAY:
The Jewish community of Rahavam was destroyed today by black-suited Israeli “security” personnel. Over 30 Israelis have suddenly found themselves homeless as bulldozers swooped down this morning with no warning. What is ironic about this destruction is that the community was entirely within the Gush Etzion bloc and entirely built on state land.
Protests over the destruction are now taking place in Jerusalem and throughout Judea and Samaria.
The Red Sea to Dead Sea Canal or pipeline project has moved dramatically closer to implementation this week. After having been debated for decades–and actively considered for funding by the World Bank for the last seven years–one of the final project discussions was held in Neveh Ilan on Sunday.
In a rancorous, chaotic meeting over environmental concerns that featured long shouting matches between Israeli environmentalists and a representative of the World Bank, that representative informed those assembled that the final deadline for objections to the project is in March. After that point, work on the project will proceed.
The project will probably be completed in two phases at a cost of $10 billion dollars–primarily financed by the World Bank:
Phase 1: a pipeline will connect the Red Sea to the Dead Sea
Phase 2: a canal will be built to connect the Red Sea to the Dead Sea
Take a good look at the graphic of the project. You will note:
- that the entire pipeline and canal will be built in Jordan (because of objections to the project by Israeli environmentalists)
- that the project calls for a huge desalination plant to eventually be built in Jordan to supply water to the water-starved country (even though the graphic mentions “countries in the region”, the water is earmarked for Jordan)
- that the project calls for a huge electricity producing station to also be built in Jordan to supply Jordanians with power (again, even though the graphic mentions “countries in the region”, the electrical generating station will be in Jordan)
What your humble servant finds disturbing about this project is the extreme short-sightedness of Israeli environmentalists. It is almost inconceivable that Israel is missing out on a golden opportunity to develop the Negev. Can you even begin to imagine what would happen if Israel had desalination plants in the Negev?
By the way, all of this begs the question of why the Israeli environmentalists are even involved in the planning at all–and what they are so upset about.
The environmentalists are angry because the project will replenish the Dead Sea with approximately 1 billion cu meters of water per year from the Red Sea (initially in the first phase)—and then the highly saline water effluent from the Jordanian desalination plant (in the second phase). The environmentalists say that the focus of replenishing the Dead Sea should be its natural tributary, the Jordan River.
That is all fine and good but the Dead Sea is rapidly falling at the rate of 1.2 meters per year–and there is no way that the Jordan River can make up the difference. Your humble servant is of the opinion that whatever negative environmental effects result from the infusion of Red Sea water or highly saline water (such as increased algae) can be mitigated.
Unfortunately for Israel, the Red Sea to Dead Sea project has already left the station, and the only two riders on board are Jordan and the World Bank.