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Friends of the Earth Middle East

Friends of the Earth Middle East




EcoPeace/Friends of the Earth Middle East is a unique organization that in 1994 for the very first time brought together Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli environmentalists to work together under a single board. Over the past 15 years the organization has grown from an all voluntary staff working out of rooms in offices of other organizations, to opening up its own offices in Bethlehem, Amman and Tel-Aviv where today 50 paid professional staff members are employed and hundreds of volunteers involved. Three distinct periods can be discerned in the short history of the organization. From 1994 to 1998 FoEME was predominately involved in leading efforts for developing sustainable livelihoods (UNEP report – OECD peace building pillars). The work of the organization was focused on protecting the environment from the lack of crossborder cooperation related to conflict and from overdevelopment being proposed within the framework of advancing the peace process. Reflecting on the “Enlightenment Rift and Peacebuilding: Rationality, Spirituality, and Shared Waters” paper by Aaron Wolf this period of FoEME’s development can be seen as one of near complete reliance on analytical skills. Though not always approached from an adversarial perspective and certainly involving a regional geographical scope from the outset, the work of the organization nevertheless acted from a very rational, single minded focus on the environment. The second period in the short history of the organization is from 1998 to 2001 where the organization experienced great turmoil both internally and externally – greatly impacted by the failure of the Oslo Accords to improve the lives of people and advance peace. The third period is from 2001 to the present where the organization had to reinvent itself and reconsider its mandate, all in the midst of unprecedented violence. In order to remain relevant, the organization came to realize that it had to take a leading role in peacebuilding through grassroots efforts undertaken through dialogue, confidence building and cooperation activities focused on actual crossborder resources that could directly benefit people. From the perspective of Aaron Wolf’s paper this era for the organization is far more integrative, having to deal with the conflicting and competing political, economic and social interests that exist both within each community and society and between crossborder communities and societies. This period reflects the very action orientated approach of the organization as exists today, having to show concrete results and benefits on almost a daily basis in order to maintain the trust of residents and community leaders.


PO Box 840252 Amman 11181 Jordan