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A biblical tragedy in Galilee

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Flag to Julianna -- we were discussing the water issues in the other thread... this article is pretty good (except for one laughable propaganda sentence :P)

A biblical tragedy in Galilee

An arid country, Israel relies on the waters where Jesus sailed to irrigate its farmland and supply its homes. But now the lake is drying up – and only drastic action will save it

By Kim Sengupta in Tiberias, Galilee

Friday, 29 August 2008

2hdofid.jpg

The Sea of Galilee, crucial to the local fishermen, has been used to irrigate Israel's countryside and brought blooms to the desert, but critics say the pumping should be halted

GETTY IMAGES

The 2,000-year-old fishing boat of Galilee in which, the story goes, Jesus may have sailed, is one of the most precious ancient treasures in Israel.

The vessel, which draws thousands of tourists to a kibbutz in Ginosar, was discovered by chance in 1986 when the sea level dropped dramatically because of a severe drought.

"This year it is actually worse. I have been here 54 years and I have never seen the water so low, the situation so bad," said Haim Binstock, an expert on the boat in the museum where it is kept. "I don't think the outside world realises just how dangerous the situation is, not just for Israel but for the whole region."

The waters of the Sea of Galilee are now at their lowest on record and, officials say, are set to fall even lower. The crisis is both natural and man-made. Four successive years of droughts, with rainfall less than half the annual average, has combined with a lack of snow on the peaks of Mount Hermon to lead to the shortage. At the same time,Israel's relentless pumping of water to irrigate farmland and supply homes has been massively worsening the situation.

The Israeli government, environmentalists say, seems oblivious to the damage being caused to the largest lake in the country. Despite the water falling below the lowest red line, which denotes serious hazard, the pumping has continued until it is due to reach an even lower black line, seen previously as a point of no return.

Gidon Bromberg, the Israel director of Friends of the Earth Middle East says: "There is a very real danger that this could lead to over-salination. The lower red line indicates the level at which the sustainability of the lake is threatened. We are certainly very alarmed by the authorities' willingness to go to the black line. This development could well be irreversible."

The main factor driving the unending thirst is Israel's projection of itself is a country of pioneering farmers who made the desert bloom while the previous Palestinian owners of the land were prepared to live in a barren environment without seeking progress. (-ed: OMG ####### LOL BS ALERT)

Attempts by the Israeli government to bring in strict restrictions on water usage would, analysts say, be politically suicidal with an election on the horizon. No party would be willing to put forward such proposals against the powerful farming lobby.

Israeli farmers consume 40 per cent of the country's fresh water using some of it, environmental campaigners point out, to grow fruit such as bananas and types of berries alien to the desert, for export to the West. That leads to the perverse equation, they say, of water being exported from the parched Middle East to wet Europe.

The Sea of Galilee has now also taken on another international strategic dimension. The next round of the fledgling talks between Israel and Syria are due to begin and, according to Walid al-Moualem, the foreign minister in Damascus, control of the Sea's shoreline is a bone of contention.

The late president of Syria, Hafez al-Assad, while stressing that much of Galilee used to belong to his country, once described to Bill Clinton how he used to swim in the waters of the sea before the 1967 war when Israel captured the eastern shore and the plateau.

Israel's unwillingness to relinquish those gains led to Assad refusing to sign a peace accord at the time. His son and heir, President Bashir al-Assad, insists that Israel must withdraw from "every inch" of the Golan, including the eastern shore of Galilee.

At the kibbutz of Ein Gev, beside the sea, from where ferries run to Tiberias, Leon Segal, a guide, sees Syria's hand behind part of the problem. "Our cousins – I say that because the Bible says we are cousins – have been drilling in areas they should not, and this is diverting the water. This is the politics of the Middle East."

Mr Segal did acknowledge, however, that the Israeli government should be doing a lot more to alleviate the situation. "They should be setting up manydesalination plants to get water from other sources. They're using Israeli expertise in these matters all over the world but this is the one country which isn't using it enough. I don't think it would be possible to deprive the farmers of their water, so what is needed is alternative sources, it's that simple."

Temperatures at midday on the Galilee shore rise to a cloying, humid mid-50s Celsius. Faye Statiabou, 52, who arrived at the kibbutz from Australia 30 years ago, described how "quite big cracks are now appearing on the walls of our home, that is due to the heat caused by the drought. This is the hottest I can remember. We desperately need some rain pretty soon. Maybe this is global warming.

"But the pumping out of the water doesn't help. My husband was a fisherman and he has seen how the water has gone over the years, and with it the fishes."

Ms Statiabou and Mr Segal wandered down to a shore of shingle. "This is where the water used to come to," said Ms Statiabou. "Now look how far it has gone." The nearest sunbathers and swimmers were at the new shoreline at least 30 yards away.

The Galilee region had been verdant through the ages with a ribbon of flourishing towns and villages beside the lake. The historian Flavius Josephus, writing in the first century, was so taken with the area that he wrote: "One may call this place the ambition of nature." He reported 230 fishing boats working each day.

Ari Binyamin, a fisherman, said he wished he was living in that time. "We used to say even a few years ago that one place where you couldn't go wrong fishing was Kinneret [Hebrew name for the Sea of Galilee] but now it is getting very, very hard because the stocks are so low. Many fishermen fear for their livelihood and so do I. But it seems no one really cares about us."

At Ginosar, after showing another group of visitors round the Galilee boat – made out of 12 different types of wood -Mr Binstock said: "Of course many of the disciples of Jesus were fishermen at Galilee. If you recall, he said he would make them fishers of men. Well, that wouldn't be possible now, there are hardly any fish left around here.

"This country has found itself, through circumstances, as the keeper of some of the most precious things in the world, both made by man and by nature. It has a responsibility to the rest of mankind to look after these things. They are failing to do this here, at the Sea of Galilee."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/mi...lee-912338.html


6y04dk.jpg
شارع النجمة في بيت لحم

Too bad what happened to a once thriving VJ but hardly a surprise

al Nakba 1948-2015
66 years of forced exile and dispossession


Copyright © 2015 by PalestineMyHeart. Original essays, comments by and personal photographs taken by PalestineMyHeart are the exclusive intellectual property of PalestineMyHeart and may not be reused, reposted, or republished anywhere in any manner without express written permission from PalestineMyHeart.

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Sigh.

_*(^)*&^)*&%)*&%)&!!!!! For real! There is a scene in a movie where someone, John Cusak is coming to mind, gets really really ticked off and tries to tear up a pillow and fights with it, unsucessfully, in a burst of anger. That is how I feel!

They need to STOP. There are arid farming techniques which work JUST FINE. They do not need to be growing freaking bananas, ever. They don't need to be growing melons out of the proper season. They do not need to be doing any of this #######. Ammar's area is about 15 miles from the SoG and 10 miles as the crow flies from Israel. He is equivilent to the majority of the driest of the Israeli climate, and it does get even wetter there. Israel has a lot of similarities (as does Ammar's area which gets more rain than irbid for those who know anything about Jordan) to Southern California. The drier parts are like Riverside county, and the wetter are like San Diego/Santa Barbara respectively. The only reason people can grow giant farms in SoCal year round is because of irrigation.... but there are many things which will live with little to no irrigation in their season. People need to pull their heads out of their a$$es and realize that they are killing their land, being bad stewards, and all of that. Desert and Mediterranean land is a fragile balance. I would HATE to see their soil tests at this point-- intensive irrigation in a desert cuases incredible mineral build up because of the lack of rain to wash things out, which means you have to turn to commercial fertilizers, which makes for a nasty circle of creating infertility. They are totally blessed with this great climate and the ability to grow year-round if they did it right. They are NOT doing it right.

Also, cutting down the trees in Jordan and Israel has screwed up the rain and moisture balance creating an additional major desertification. Of course they cut a lot down in order to plant their silly farms for export, not all of which even observe the shabbat cycle for the land.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. This is such a giant pet-peeve of mine. Sustainable agriculture is more than possible here.

Edited by julianna

None of my posts have ever been helpful. Be forewarned.

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Juliana - I should obviously know this particularly since i am in israel and could ask!!! But the schmitta rules for the land - are you just not allowed to plant new crops or can you not pick from them either? We havent been able to find haas avocados (dont ask why thats SO necessary!) and we were told by guys in the souk that its because of the schmitta. Yet everything else is abundant? Not getting it.

I was in the galilee two weeks ago and saw how much the sea had dried up, its such a shame.

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Juliana - I should obviously know this particularly since i am in israel and could ask!!! But the schmitta rules for the land - are you just not allowed to plant new crops or can you not pick from them either? We havent been able to find haas avocados (dont ask why thats SO necessary!) and we were told by guys in the souk that its because of the schmitta. Yet everything else is abundant? Not getting it.

I was in the galilee two weeks ago and saw how much the sea had dried up, its such a shame.

I have SO missed your posts! If you have any good pics to post when you come back, I would love to see them :)

6 years they gather and sow, and then there is the 7th where they do not sow or gather, and then they also should leave their crops which self-sow for the needy and the animals. Then the cycle starts over again for 7 cycles of 7 years. Then, once they haev done 7 cycles of 7 years, they have the Shmittah (and I know you may know all of this but I'm writing it out for everyone who doesn't and who doesn't know what you were asking about), which is the same thing. G-d promises that in 6th year of the 7th cycle, He will increase the harvest to be equal to 3 years of harvests.. so they can save and cover the Shmittah and the Yovel years. Fruits are fair game in teh Yovel year, but not the Shmitteh if I remember rightly :) I remember last year (2007, jsut before this new year started in September) that some of the farms who were orthodox-run were not going to harvest, but then they made arrangements to buy fresh from other countries in Europe, etc. Also there is "Heter Mechira" (selling the land temporarily to a non-Jew, thus working it still), Otzar Beit Din (temp. selling it to the court and thus not working your own land), etc. Biblical prohibitions are sowing and harvesting. Rabinnical prohibtions are pruning and watering to improve crops as far as I can tell, but there are debates. I think all the above personally violate the letter of the law, because the land is still being worked and they are not relying off of stores-- you could can :) But that's my personal opinion. The verses are Exodus 23:10-11, Leviticus 25:20-22, Deuteronomy 31:10-13 which give direct law. There are also Tanakh citations in Jeremiah, Isaiah, etc which discuss the Jews not following the rules and then getting into trouble-- like wars, captivity, drought, famine, etc. Are your haas avacados local? That could be the reason-- and they aren't importing any.


None of my posts have ever been helpful. Be forewarned.

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Juliana - I should obviously know this particularly since i am in israel and could ask!!! But the schmitta rules for the land - are you just not allowed to plant new crops or can you not pick from them either? We havent been able to find haas avocados (dont ask why thats SO necessary!) and we were told by guys in the souk that its because of the schmitta. Yet everything else is abundant? Not getting it.

I was in the galilee two weeks ago and saw how much the sea had dried up, its such a shame.

I have SO missed your posts! If you have any good pics to post when you come back, I would love to see them :)

6 years they gather and sow, and then there is the 7th where they do not sow or gather, and then they also should leave their crops which self-sow for the needy and the animals. Then the cycle starts over again for 7 cycles of 7 years. Then, once they haev done 7 cycles of 7 years, they have the Shmittah (and I know you may know all of this but I'm writing it out for everyone who doesn't and who doesn't know what you were asking about), which is the same thing. G-d promises that in 6th year of the 7th cycle, He will increase the harvest to be equal to 3 years of harvests.. so they can save and cover the Shmittah and the Yovel years. Fruits are fair game in teh Yovel year, but not the Shmitteh if I remember rightly :) I remember last year (2007, jsut before this new year started in September) that some of the farms who were orthodox-run were not going to harvest, but then they made arrangements to buy fresh from other countries in Europe, etc. Also there is "Heter Mechira" (selling the land temporarily to a non-Jew, thus working it still), Otzar Beit Din (temp. selling it to the court and thus not working your own land), etc. Biblical prohibitions are sowing and harvesting. Rabinnical prohibtions are pruning and watering to improve crops as far as I can tell, but there are debates. I think all the above personally violate the letter of the law, because the land is still being worked and they are not relying off of stores-- you could can :) But that's my personal opinion. The verses are Exodus 23:10-11, Leviticus 25:20-22, Deuteronomy 31:10-13 which give direct law. There are also Tanakh citations in Jeremiah, Isaiah, etc which discuss the Jews not following the rules and then getting into trouble-- like wars, captivity, drought, famine, etc. Are your haas avacados local? That could be the reason-- and they aren't importing any.

LOL.

Well "legal loopholes" or not, the effects of poor water management are destroying this land.


6y04dk.jpg
شارع النجمة في بيت لحم

Too bad what happened to a once thriving VJ but hardly a surprise

al Nakba 1948-2015
66 years of forced exile and dispossession


Copyright © 2015 by PalestineMyHeart. Original essays, comments by and personal photographs taken by PalestineMyHeart are the exclusive intellectual property of PalestineMyHeart and may not be reused, reposted, or republished anywhere in any manner without express written permission from PalestineMyHeart.

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Juliana - I should obviously know this particularly since i am in israel and could ask!!! But the schmitta rules for the land - are you just not allowed to plant new crops or can you not pick from them either? We havent been able to find haas avocados (dont ask why thats SO necessary!) and we were told by guys in the souk that its because of the schmitta. Yet everything else is abundant? Not getting it.

I was in the galilee two weeks ago and saw how much the sea had dried up, its such a shame.

I have SO missed your posts! If you have any good pics to post when you come back, I would love to see them :)

6 years they gather and sow, and then there is the 7th where they do not sow or gather, and then they also should leave their crops which self-sow for the needy and the animals. Then the cycle starts over again for 7 cycles of 7 years. Then, once they haev done 7 cycles of 7 years, they have the Shmittah (and I know you may know all of this but I'm writing it out for everyone who doesn't and who doesn't know what you were asking about), which is the same thing. G-d promises that in 6th year of the 7th cycle, He will increase the harvest to be equal to 3 years of harvests.. so they can save and cover the Shmittah and the Yovel years. Fruits are fair game in teh Yovel year, but not the Shmitteh if I remember rightly :) I remember last year (2007, jsut before this new year started in September) that some of the farms who were orthodox-run were not going to harvest, but then they made arrangements to buy fresh from other countries in Europe, etc. Also there is "Heter Mechira" (selling the land temporarily to a non-Jew, thus working it still), Otzar Beit Din (temp. selling it to the court and thus not working your own land), etc. Biblical prohibitions are sowing and harvesting. Rabinnical prohibtions are pruning and watering to improve crops as far as I can tell, but there are debates. I think all the above personally violate the letter of the law, because the land is still being worked and they are not relying off of stores-- you could can :) But that's my personal opinion. The verses are Exodus 23:10-11, Leviticus 25:20-22, Deuteronomy 31:10-13 which give direct law. There are also Tanakh citations in Jeremiah, Isaiah, etc which discuss the Jews not following the rules and then getting into trouble-- like wars, captivity, drought, famine, etc. Are your haas avacados local? That could be the reason-- and they aren't importing any.

LOL.

Well "legal loopholes" or not, the effects of poor water management are destroying this land.

:thumbs:

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LOL.

Well "legal loopholes" or not, the effects of poor water management are destroying this land.

Give it time and it will totally make it unable to be farmed. People have no sense of responsibility and forethought. No matter who occupies that piece of land, there are only certain ways it can be used. This is also where I could get into a giant rant about Olmert. P*(&P*(^*(P%(&% <---------------- pillow ripping again.

Out of curiosity, did you ever get into the sustainable farming practices WOM?


None of my posts have ever been helpful. Be forewarned.

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LOL.

Well "legal loopholes" or not, the effects of poor water management are destroying this land.

Give it time and it will totally make it unable to be farmed. People have no sense of responsibility and forethought. No matter who occupies that piece of land, there are only certain ways it can be used. This is also where I could get into a giant rant about Olmert. P*(&P*(^*(P%(&% <---------------- pillow ripping again.

Out of curiosity, did you ever get into the sustainable farming practices WOM?

I've been reading quite a bit about it. I already do a number of things in line with it.


6y04dk.jpg
شارع النجمة في بيت لحم

Too bad what happened to a once thriving VJ but hardly a surprise

al Nakba 1948-2015
66 years of forced exile and dispossession


Copyright © 2015 by PalestineMyHeart. Original essays, comments by and personal photographs taken by PalestineMyHeart are the exclusive intellectual property of PalestineMyHeart and may not be reused, reposted, or republished anywhere in any manner without express written permission from PalestineMyHeart.

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I've been reading quite a bit about it. I already do a number of things in line with it.

One thing that i thought was somewhat interesting is the issue of composting. I've been asking Ammar and he said they don't do it. I would imagine that is because they don't have the rainfall for it (you would end up having to water the pile, which would seem like a crazy thing to do if you didn't know the outcome of it all.) It shouldn't take much though, and I was considering trying to introduce this idea up there (I know, I'm kind of crazy.)... BUT they do actually do something which is good as well-- they burn their plant refuse and spread if on the fields. They *should* (without a test I can't say) have an alkaline soil pH based on what grows naturally and their rainfall patterns and ammounts, and the ash would actually help to balance this. I have noticed that the larger the farms get, the less people are doing this anymore-- also they are, of course, ignoring the whole idea of leaving a field fallow for a season and crop rotation falls to the wayside as well (regardless what one thinks of Shmittah, it's a fallow-technique-- which is very important, especially for fields). Do you know if Palestinians traditionally had a way to conquer these challenges? I am sure they did, but sometimes these things get codified into culture and that's what I'm interested in as there is real wisdom in the local old ways much of the time.


None of my posts have ever been helpful. Be forewarned.

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One thing that i thought was somewhat interesting is the issue of composting. I've been asking Ammar and he said they don't do it. I would imagine that is because they don't have the rainfall for it (you would end up having to water the pile, which would seem like a crazy thing to do if you didn't know the outcome of it all.) It shouldn't take much though, and I was considering trying to introduce this idea up there (I know, I'm kind of crazy.)... BUT they do actually do something which is good as well-- they burn their plant refuse and spread if on the fields. They *should* (without a test I can't say) have an alkaline soil pH based on what grows naturally and their rainfall patterns and ammounts, and the ash would actually help to balance this. I have noticed that the larger the farms get, the less people are doing this anymore-- also they are, of course, ignoring the whole idea of leaving a field fallow for a season and crop rotation falls to the wayside as well (regardless what one thinks of Shmittah, it's a fallow-technique-- which is very important, especially for fields). Do you know if Palestinians traditionally had a way to conquer these challenges? I am sure they did, but sometimes these things get codified into culture and that's what I'm interested in as there is real wisdom in the local old ways much of the time.

I am no expert on agriculture, but some Palestinian farmers do use crop rotation and composting -- depends on where they are, how big their farm is, what type of crop they are producing, etc. Farmers in Palestine also burn plant waste and spread it on their fields, but it's to control insect pests (which may have an additional benefit of improving soil pH -- I'm not sure on that.) Another organic method they use to discourage bugs is to spread a light coating of dust on the crops.

Some of the traditional techniques for improving the land and conserving scarce water in Palestine are the construction of terraced fields and plowing on the contour, using animal manure for fertilizer, and heavy reliance on crops that are rain-fed and do not need additional irrigation -- like the olive. There are a number of Palestinian agricultural organizations that encourage and educate farmers to continue using many of the old traditional organic methods, instead of modern pesticides and fertilizers.

Here is a pretty good article I found that may answer more questions:

http://www.arij.org/index.php?Itemid=26&am...view#cultivated


6y04dk.jpg
شارع النجمة في بيت لحم

Too bad what happened to a once thriving VJ but hardly a surprise

al Nakba 1948-2015
66 years of forced exile and dispossession


Copyright © 2015 by PalestineMyHeart. Original essays, comments by and personal photographs taken by PalestineMyHeart are the exclusive intellectual property of PalestineMyHeart and may not be reused, reposted, or republished anywhere in any manner without express written permission from PalestineMyHeart.

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Thanks for the link! That is good information.

You know, re-reading the article again, one would think they would also take into account the fishing, economic, and tourism benefits of the SoG and want to protect it.


None of my posts have ever been helpful. Be forewarned.

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