The May 14 article in the New York Times headlined “Solar Project Pairs Muslim and Jews to Aid West Bank Farmers” was shocking and surprising. And the news it announced was encouraging, to say the least. The project is a 125-foot bank of solar panels, whose generated power now draws water from deep underground to help irrigate local fruit groves.
Solar panels similar to these in Auja provide power to some of the poorest Arab villages in the West Bank and Israel, according to the article. But this is the first substantial one to be financed by a consortium involving both Jews and Muslims in the United States; and to have Israeli Jews and Palestinian Muslims on its technical team.
“Working near the Dead Sea on land that still evokes its biblical past,” the writers noted, the farmers set aside nationalist, religious and political animosity to embrace the environmental and economic benefits.
Three more reasons the Auja project succeeded, according to the article, the developers did not seek permission from any political entity, it was constructed on private land, and the natural asset of the valley is sunlight, plenty of it.
AN AMUSING THOUGHT
What if private entrepreneurs applied the same successful principles to another creative collaboration: one that is grander in scope, even more incongruent and newsworthy, which would benefit future generations? We know land and labor are abundant. We now know renewable energy is available. What if the project could provide environmental, economic and entertainment value to the troubled area.
Imagine a world-class theme park in the Middle East, on the West Bank. “East Meets West World” could become a beacon of better times — of coexistence, prosperity and amusement.