Could a Pipeline Bring Peace to the Middle East?

This falls under the heading of “You’ve got to be kidding.” But the says it’s true, and we know that if it’s on the internet it is surely true.

It seems that on December 9 at the World Bank in WashingtonD.C., Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority (that passes for the government in some place called Palestine that doesn’t really exist) signed an agreement that accomplishes at least three goals and maybe four that are important to all three governments. These goals will be reached by one infrastructure improvement in the Jordan River valley. They agreed to construct a 180 kilometer pipeline that links the Red Sea with the Dead Sea.

131215-pipeline_in_the_middle_east_map.gif(1) This pipeline will save the shrinking Dead Sea from completely disappearing and will be a boon to the fragile ecology of the area.

(2) It will provide 80 million cubic meters of desalinized water so vital to the people and the agriculture of that part of the world.

(3) It will provide for the generation of electricity by utilizing the difference in elevation of these two bodies of water.

The pipeline is predicted to take three years to build at the cost of $400 million.

These three governments have been at each other’s throats for decades. Could this kind of cooperation be the turn-around that finally begins to settle old wounds? Jordan’s Water Minister, Hazem Al Nasser said, “This is an agreement with a humanitarian aspect, designed to aid those who need water.” Finally, someone seems to be interested in building up instead of blowing up.

I find it fascinating that parties who signed the agreement were Israel’s Regional Cooperation Minister, Silvan Shalom, Jordan’s Water Minister, Hazem Al Nasser, and the Palestinian Authority’s Water Authority Minister, Shadad Atili. To have government high ranking ministers with these kinds of titles, tells us how important “cooperation” and “water” is to the people of that part of our world.

My first inclination is to say, “I’ll believe this when I see the construction started and completed with water running through the pipeline.” That may be too cynical, but given the recent history of this area, it is realistic. But the World Bank is providing the funds. Surely, surely, this is for real.

Oh, yes, and the fourth goal that I wrote about above: Give the young men of Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority something tangible to work toward. I would imagine that a tool belt around the waist of a young man would be more desirable than a back pack filled with C4.


The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

Harry Livermore

Harry Livermore spent a lifetime teaching English in high schools and junior colleges in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Georgia. He now writes for and is editor of the Valdosta Magazine. Harry and his wife Janice live in Valdosta, GA. They are members of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Valdosta. Harry has two sons, six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren who live in Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas.

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