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Israelis And Palestinians Working To Repair The Environment

Boulder Organization Lends Helping Hand

Boulder, Colorado (July 23, 2015). Sustainable Israeli-Palestinian Projects (SIPP), a new nonprofit organization based in Boulder, is working with both Israelis and Palestinians to help restore the land and relationships in the Kidron Valley/Wadi Al Nar Basin, in Israel and the West Bank.

SIPP will be hosting an informational and fundraising event on Thursday evening, August 13. The event will feature Liora Meron, Israeli architect and planner for the Kidron/Wadi Al Nar Trans-Boundary River Basin, and Eric Lombardi, international expert and consultant on recycling and Zero Waste Systems, and former executive director of Boulder’s Eco-Cycle.

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The Kidron starts in Jerusalem, includes the Old City, and flows past the ancient Mar Saba Monastery.

The Kidron /Wadi Al Nar is a trans-boundary stream that starts in Jerusalem, collects untreated sewage from Israeli and Palestinian communities, and discharges into the Dead Sea. While are there are relatively easy engineering solutions to this problem, the cross-jurisdictional political issues currently render such solutions elusive. In addition to sewage, there is a large trash problem. Several of the communities in the basin, especially the Palestinian communities, do not have the infrastructure to manage their trash. As a result, the basin has open dumps and trash strewn throughout.

Trash in the Kidron
Open dumps in the Kidron are both eyesores and health hazards.

SIPP has partnered with an Israeli organization that is working with both Palestinians and Israelis to develop environmental solutions through education and training. There is also a potential peace benefit when Israelis and Palestinians get to know one another by working together on a problem of mutual concern.

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Pollution in the basin poses a major obstacle to developing eco-tourism.

SIPP plans to send a team of experts from Boulder to Jerusalem in October to provide expertise on waste management and water issues. According to SIPP President Peter Ornstein, “we have an opportunity to share Boulder’s environmental culture and expertise with both Israelis and Palestinians, and create a neutral space where we can learn from each other. Given the spiritual significance of Jerusalem to Jews, Christians and Muslims, this is a wonderful opportunity to bring diverse communities together for a common cause.”

To learn more about Sustainable Israeli-Palestinian Projects or for information on the August 13 event, please visit http://SIPProjects.org. You may also contact SIPP directly at info@SIPProjects.org.

About Peter Ornstein

Peter Ornstein is an environmental attorney and mediator living in Boulder, Colorado. Peter founded Sustainable Israeli-Palestinian Projects, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing together Israelis and Palestinians in common cause to clean up their environment, and engage them with our community in Boulder.

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