March 13, 2007 – Israeli Cabinet Decision on Red Dead Canal Irresponsible

Israeli Cabinet Decision on Red Dead Canal Irresponsible

March 13, 2007

The Israeli Government decision on Sunday March 11, 2007, to support the building of a conduit linking the Red Sea to the Dead Sea was described by EcoPeace Middle East as irresponsible and taken contrary to the advice of the government’s own environment experts.

The statement made by Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Shimon Peres, at a press conference following the government decision that “research can tell what was, but not what will be” highlights how reckless a decision making process has taken place.

“Deciding first and thinking it through later makes a mockery of responsible government and rational decision making,” said Gidon Bromberg, Israeli Director of EcoPeace Middle East.

Yesterday’s government decision is contrary to an earlier January 2003 cabinet decision that required the Ministries of Environment and National Infrastructure to investigate means and ways of saving the Dead Sea under three scenarios, business as usual (allowing the further decline of the sea), the implications of a Red Dead Conduit and the viability of rehabilitating part of the flow of the Jordan River through improved water management.

In yesterday’s decision, the Israeli Government chose the Red Dead Conduit option, without having all the information required to decide. A comparison of the different options is the only sound basis of decision making.

“Saving the Dead Sea is clearly not at all the motivating interest of the government in this project”, continued Bromberg. “Isn’t it odd that a project claimed to be for the purpose of saving a unique ecological system is not being led in Israel or Jordan by their respective Ministries of the Environment but by development ministries?”

The professional staff at the Israeli Ministry of Environment have repeatedly stated that such a mega project, as the Red Dead Conduit, requires extensive and careful investigation prior to any decision taken. The advice of the professional staff at the Environment Ministry appears to have been ignored once again.

For more information please contact:
Gidon Bromberg: Mobile: 0524532597
Mira Edelstein: Mobile: 0546392937