THE DEAD SEA REFUSES TO DIE

We learn that to appreciate our environment is a 'must'; we do everything possible to stabilize our climate, we fight for the Dead Sea survival within the international competition, 7 World Wonders, being held on the Internet. Why is politics also involved in it?  This post highlights the opportunities this international competition holds for the survival of the Dead Sea . It ends, however, with a comment about the potential of this project turning into a political farce

 

רשימה זאת מיועדת לעורר סימני שאלה ותהייה לגבי פרויקטים סביבתיים כמו הפרויקט 'שבעה פלאי עולם'. ים המלח הוגש כמועמד בתחילת 2009 והוכרז יחד עם 27 אתרי טבע נוספים בעולם כבעל סיכוי לעלות לשלב הגמר בתחרות. עם כל הכבוד והמאמץ להצלת  ים המלח בעקבות פרויקט נפלא זה, עדיין לא ברור איך השתרבב לכאן אלמנט פוליטי העלול להתגלות כפארסה

The Dead Sea decreases in size every year. The Dead Sea is competing as a candidate in the 'Seven Wonders of the World' competition – an international competition being held on the Internet. People from all over the world are invited to vote on the candidates.

If the Dead Sea is chosen as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, this will not only promote tourism to the area. This will also raise awareness about the bleak reality facing the body of water, which is getting smaller every year.

Fortunately, by July 2009 the Dead Sea made it to the final list of spectacular natural landmarks, along with 27 other sites. The project director, the Swiss, Bernard Weber said: "This campaign should contribute to the appreciation of our environment and not just the one in our country but worldwide. If our children want to save anything, we should first appreciate it."

The path toward the Dead Sea's participation in this competition was not easy. The competition organizers stipulated that "All the States sharing the territory around the site are required to create a joint committee to submit the Dead Sea's candidacy for the list".  

While Israel and Jordan signed participation documents wholeheartedly, it took the Palestinian President, Mahmoud  Abbass, a lengthy period of time to cooperate with Israel and Jordan and sign the participation documents. The opposition was based on the so-called claim of Abbas that "Israeli contingency is made up in part by a regional council, representing settlements."  The Palestinian Tourism Minister was quoted saying that, "We will not establish any committee with Israel. We are not interested being part of this issue, when the Israeli committee discusses this issue with settlers on occupied land, in violation of the international law".

 Abbas finally agreed to remove the Palestinian Authority's opposition to the Dead Sea being submitted as a joint Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian candidate. He signed his agreement (January 2009) to allow the natural phenomenon of the Dead Sea to be considered for the competition.

Weber's legacy is heartwarming. However, I would like to take this opportunity and point at the irony of defining the Palestinian Authority as a State named, Palestine. It is true that the final 7 World Wonders will be declared only as late as 2011. Nobody can, however, predict with an utmost certainty that there will be a Palestinian state by that time. The project's official website should change its definition of 'Palestine' as a state, for the time-being, lest the whole project becomes a political farce.

This blog is participating in the 'Blog-Action-Day09' – 15th October, 2009.

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