16 May 2008

The Valley of Peace initiative

It looks like the old "better dead than red" saying gets a new twist.

A group of Israeli and foreign businessmen and bankers are finally ready to build a $3 billion canal between the Red and Dead Seas, desalinating the water, producing hydroelectric power and yielding profits, clean water, jobs and potentially unprecedented regional cooperation.
Hopefully the project that is mulled upon for uncounted number of years will finally get moving. Because:
The planned Valley of Peace through the Arava would be developed to include tens of billions of dollars worth of hotels (with 200,000 beds) and other tourist attractions, clean industry and one of the largest botanical gardens in the world - providing a million jobs.

It would quadruple tourism to Israel from today's two million annual visitors, he said. The billion cubic meters of desalinated water it would yield would make the Arava green on both sides of the border, said the 57-year-old real estate and fuel tycoon as Peres smiled broadly. Greenhouses would raise winter fruits and vegetables and sell them in the region and abroad.

The area would, according to this "amazing vision," be turned into a free-trade zone, attracting investment from around the world. A high-speed train line and highway would run alongside the canal, transporting people and goods between the Dead and Red Seas within an hour, according to a sophisticated audiovisual presentation shown to the audience.
Let's hope that at least some of this comes true. And that the Dead Sea gets some much needed water.