Iraq asks for Israel’s help for desertification

Sometimes coexistence between Israel and its Arab neighbors can happen in the most out of the way locations. While, officially, Israel and most of the Arab world are officially at war, and while Israelis and Palestinians seem locked in a …

Can desertification bring us together?

Sometimes coexistence between Israel and its Arab neighbors can happen in the most out of the way locations.

While, officially, Israel and most of the Arab world are officially at war, and while Israelis and Palestinians seem locked in a perpetual state of avoidance through declaration, at the recent Conference on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa, representatives from Iraq and Tunisia approached staffers from the Jewish National Fund at the latter’s booth. Their goal: to seek Israel’s help in fighting “desertification” in their countries, reports Yediot Ahronot.

The U.N. has defined desertification as “land degradation in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas resulting mainly from adverse human impact.” What causes desertification is as hotly contested as the peace process. Some say it’s the result of wind erosion; others that it comes from overgrazing by livestock. For the politically correct, it’s a part of overall climate change and global warming.

Whatever the reason, Susan Sami Jameel Albanaa, who is head of air pollution control at the Iraqi Ministry of the Environment, started the ball rolling by requesting Israeli assistance, and said she “hoped an open dialogue on the issue of desertification could be kept open” between her office and the Israeli representatives. Yediot adds that her colleague, Mohamed Bahir, also asked for our help in controlling greenhouse gas emissions.

And, as if Iraq and Tunisia weren’t enough, apparently an Afghani representative “swapped stories” with JNF officials at the conference, saying that he “never conversed with Israelis before and was very glad for the opportunity.”

As are we.

About Brian Blum

Brian has been a journalist and high-tech entrepreneur for over 20 years. He combines this expertise for ISRAEL21c and Israelity as he writes about hot new local startups, pharmaceutical advances, scientific discoveries, culture, the arts and daily life in Israel. He loves hiking the country with his family (and blogging about it). Originally from California, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and three children.
  • Samir

    The real problem is restoration of deserts to productivity. This problem has been tackled by Israel on many fronts with excellent results: tapping deep aquifers, collecting meagre rainfall from wide areas into small plots, delivery of drip irrigation water to the immediate vicinity of roots, desalination of brackish water by solar means, collection of solar radiation in deserts to create power, and more.
    Collaboration between any entity and Israeli counterparts will benefit both sides. If politics dictate quiet, that’s no problem.
    One idea I had is creating salt water fish ponds & lakes near seashores. Local evaporation would eventually create green microclimates. The fishfarms would provide food for people and employment. If interested contact me at r_da@verizon.net .

  • Howard

    Let them be dry.

  • David

    The secret to making the Negev bloom — EARTHWORMS! Without the crawly, burrowing little aerators, irrigation is wasted.