At the French ambassador's villa in picturesque Jaffa, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, yet another cocktail party is being hosted, but this event is very special because sworn enemies are here to talk their future survival.
Video courtesy of jn1.tv
“We think that water can be an issue for peace or for conflicts," says French Ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot. "Of course water is very scarce, very rare in this region, and of course water has to be shared by all the people of this region. So they may either fight to get it or they may cooperate.
"Cooperation is obviously a way that we promote, and I think if you look at the history of the matter, people are cooperating on water much more in advance before being in the position to make peace. So water and working on water can also be a way to promote peace.”
One of the major partners on the other side is Prof. Yusuf Abu Mayla from Gaza, who realizes if the sides won’t sit down now, it will lead to a catastrophic future for all those involved.
“I think regarding the water issues, all people all over the world should talk together because its shared water," he says. "No one can have his own water. We have shared water with the Israelis, we have the shared water with the Egyptians, we have shared water between the Israelis and the Jordanians, between all the countries together in the region.
"I think it is important to sit, to talk, to meet each other and then have some new issues, new technique or something to imply something like that. But it is really very important to improve the situation on the ground. It’s really very important for all the scientific and academic staff to talk together about the academic and technical issues, which I think is very important for our futures.”
'Water doesn't recognize international boundaries'
For every gathering like this to happen, there has to be someone who believes he can move mountains to convince everyone involved it can be done. In this case it is Ben-Gurion University Prof. Eilon Adar, who has done everything within his powers to make this summit a reality.
“We are partners, real scientific partners, practical partners for many years, in spite of what’s going on," he says. "In spite of the political difficulties, we keep working together. Unfortunately not very close recently, but still we work together and this is, I think, the best example that we can. I think it is important.
"In my philosophy we should do the best we can to speak the same scientific professional language, and for that you have to keep working together. I hope that sometimes in the future, very near, some agreement will be reached. The professionals – such as the hydrologists in Gaza, Israel, Palestine, the West Bank – will come up with reasonable or fissionable solutions for the common water resources.
"Water does not recognize international boundaries, so something has to be done about it. Now, I prefer that these issues will be agreed among professionals so we shall be able to provide the politicians with true, realistic facts about water issues. Let the politicians then use solid information, agreed among the professionals, among the scientists, the engineers.
It is truly inspiring to see how much can be achieved when scientists come together to solve common issues without involving any political animosity.