Monday, December 23, 2013


No, this has nothing to do with the famous phrase of the Cold War, "I'd rather be dead than red!" This has to do with the Red Sea-Dead Sea canal or the so-called Red-Dead canal. Actually, those who know the history may remember that the first proposal of this kind was to build a Mediterranean Sea - Dead Sea canal, the so-called Med-Dead Canal, all within Israel, that would supply hrydroelectricity due to the decline of ca. 1 mile from the Med to the Dead Sea and also would replenish the Dead Sea with salt water. But, this was dropped partly for security reasons in favor of a Red Sea -Dead Sea canal, which would produce the same drop and the same amount of salt water, but would be a much longer canal and would require the involvement of the country of Jordan.

Last week in an unprecedented event, Israel, Jordan and the Palestine Authority signed an agreement to develop the waters of the Red Sea and the Dead Sea for mutual benefit. However, this is no Red-Dead Canal project, rather it is a toned down much smaller version that basically requires water sharing between the three entities. The actual agreement requires the building of a large de-salination plant at Aqaba port on Jordan's Red Sea coast, that would share potable water with Eilat. Also, Israel will share potable water from its desalination projects in the north with the PA and Jordan. In the Red-Dead Canal project the desalination plant was to have been built at the Dead Sea and would have been run by hydroelectricity generated from the water drop to the Dead Sea. Also, although the salinated brine that is a by-product of the desalination plant, could have been piped to the Dead Sea to replenish its water level, it is not actually included in the current plan and the brine will simply be recycled into the Red Sea at Aqaba.

One looks for grand designs and grandiose plans to exploit the natural advantages of the topology of the coutnry. But, this is not such a plan. However, it is a good start in that direction, and a good sharing of essential resources for mutual benefit. The building of a railway link from Eilat to Ashdod will definitely encourage the development of infrastructure in the region and hopefully the exploitation of the hydroelectric potential of the Red-Dead Sea Canal project can't be far behind.


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