Israel and Arab Nation Work Together to Save the Dead Sea

Photo courtesy of the Israel Ministry of Tourism

The Dead Sea. Photo courtesy of the Israel Ministry of Tourism

Israel and Jordan signed a win-win-win agreement on Thursday that will provide additional water to Israel’s Aravah desert region and Jordan, while also renewing the water supply of the Dead Sea in an effort to save the historic salt-water body from slowly dwindling away. The deal, reported in a press release by Israel’s Regional Cooperation Ministry, will involve building a desalination plant to turn seawater into fresh water and pump the “residual saline brines” into the Dead Sea.

“I stand here very moved by this historic signing of an agreement on a joint project to build a canal between the seas…This is the most important and significant agreement since the peace treaty with Jordan,” said Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Silvan Shalom in the release.

The Dead Sea has long been losing water for decades, putting it at long-term risk. Shalom noted that Theodore Herzl, the founder of the modern Zionist movement to renew the State of Israel, believed in reviving the Dead Sea more than 100 years ago.

However, it remains to be seen if the plan will work. The press release noted that the impact of the influx of salt water into the Dead Sea will be “monitored and studied.”

The deal between Israel and Jordan will also provide Jordan—a nation with it’s own water supply concerns—with additional water from Israel’s north. The accord strengthens the ties of two nations once at war, but who signed a historic peace deal 21 years ago.

The press release reported that Jordanian Water and Irrigation Minister Hazim El-Naser said his nation welcomed the opportunity to cooperate on fixing water concerns, which will also deepen the ties with Israel.

Similarly, Shalom noted the joint interests in the venture and the relationship with Israel’s Arab neighbor. He was quoted as saying, “This is the peak of fruitful and very good cooperation between Israel and Jordan and will assist in rehabilitating the Dead Sea and in resolving water issues in Jordan and the Aravah.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, February 26, 2015)


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