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THE VANISHING RIVER
An exploration of political conflict, social injustice, and environmental degradation in the Jordan River Valley
This journey offers an introduction to the places and people on the front line of the fight for water rights and environmental conservation in the Jordan Valley. By listening to local people we gain insight into some of the valley’s most acute problems: water scarcity, the pollution of the groundwater, the vanishing of the river Jordan and the Dead Sea, and the home demolitions that threaten Palestinian communities in the lower Jordan Valley.
On this journey we meet with Palestinian villagers and Israeli settlers, with Bedouin families struggling to survive the depletion of the springs, and with environmental activists working to rehabilitate the valley.
By joining the trip as an activist, a journalist, or simply as an interested traveler, you will learn about the destruction of this unique environment and equip yourself with the knowledge you need to advocate for change.
We begin above the Wadi Maleh at the medieval stone tower of Al Burj, from which we can survey the valley and get a sense of the political divisions that underlie the destruction of the valley’s ecosystem. From here we make our way to Ein al Beidha, the village that lies closest to the Jordan River and the Green Line. Local people show us the spring, now depleted by the pumping of ground water, and share their stories of water confiscation and the loss of village land. From Ein al Beidha we move on to Qardala, where we learn how the inhabitants are forced to buy the water that has been pumped from under their land by the Israeli settlements that surround them. Moving south, we stop for tea with families in Jiftlik and Fusail, communities that have both suffered home demolitions and land seizures.
For those who would like to extend this investigation, a second day’s journey brings us to the southern Jordan Valley, where the devastating environmental impact of the water conflict becomes apparent.
We visit the spring at Auja, now dry or depleted for much of the year, and talk with the Bedouin families who have suffered the consequences of this man-made disaster. From here we move on to the Baptism Site – one of the few points where it is possible to get down to the banks of the Jordan and to see the stagnant, polluted state of the river. A few kilometers to the south, we arrive at the shores of the Dead Sea. We stop at the ruins of the region’s oldest hotel, now stranded more than a kilometer from the water’s edge, and look at the sinkholes that have opened up around the shore as the sea recedes.
Back at the eco-center, Friends of the Earth can provide reports and background information for anyone who is interested to share this story or join the campaign for the rehabilitation of the valley.
For prices and reservations, or to customize this journey, contact us.