When Israelis and Palestinians simply have to work together

Friends of the Earth Middle East, with whom I spent time in Israel in 2005, sent out the following message in their latest newsletter:

FoEME is delighted to report on an exceptional honour and opportunity during the recent visit of THE ELDERS to the region. The Elders, a group of eminent global leaders, including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and others, asked to see on-the-ground peacemaking efforts and chose to learn – amongst other grass roots initiatives – about our Good Water Neighbours project.…  They toured the Palestinian GWN community of Wadi Fukin and then joined a discussion on the issue of…  ‘Why Cooperate?’ with the neighbouring Israeli community of Tzur Hadassah.

Ten residents from each side participated in the 1…½ hour discussion sharing their very personal reasons of why they have chosen to work together and how they believe that their achievement is a model that can encourage other Palestinian and Israeli communities to problem solve together.

The Elders learned about the concrete successes and benefits resulting from the 2 communities working together over the years, such as stopping the Separation Barrier from being built, the cross border marketing of agricultural produce and the advancement of sanitation solutions to Wadi Fukin.