Sophia's Peace Work

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

A Meeting with Friends of the Earth - Middle East

The main reason I had gone to Tel Aviv was to meet with Friends of the Earth Middle East to talk to them about water issues in Iraq and in the West Bank. The meeting was quite productive and I learned a great deal about environmental groups and how they operate in the Middle East. FOE-ME has offices in Tel Aviv, Bethlehem, the West Bank and Amman, Jordan, making in a joint Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian organization. Unfortunately, as an organization, there is not much they can do directly to help Iraqi NGO’s because of the Israeli involvement.

There is word in the news (and forgive me … I’m not completely up on this) of attempts to develop relationships between Iraq and Israel. I would assume this is coming from the Americans in charge and perhaps some of the Iraqi ex-patriots (I spoke to one optimistic soul who ran an Iraqi organization devoted to religious freedom. He wanted to encourage Iraqi Jews to return to Iraq). It is doubtful that the majority of people in Iraq are ready to go for this. Many of the people who have been kidnapped in Iraq have been accused of being Israeli spies, regardless of how outlandish that accusation appears. It won’t be until the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is resolved and resolved equitably that there will be openness amongst Iraqis to work in collaboration with Israeli groups.


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