This is a video, not of a ‘shark whale’, but of a whale shark, near Eilat, Israel.
From the Underwater Times:
Israeli-Jordanian Project Bridges The Political Divide Across The Gulf Of Aqaba; ‘No Customs, No Passports, No Police’
Underwatertimes.com News Service
August 25, 2009 20:58 EST
PALO ALTO, California — Scientists from Stanford University have teamed up with Israeli and Jordanian researchers to protect the Gulf of Aqaba, a strategic waterway whose fragile marine ecosystem is vital to both Israel and Jordan. Participants in the NATO-funded project say they are bridging the Arab-Israeli political divide for the sake of science, peace and environmental conservation.
“The people involved are interested in international collaboration in science and protecting the place they live,” said project co-director Stephen Monismith, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford. “Nothing in the ocean understands political borders.”
That’s especially true in the Gulf of Aqaba (known in Israel as the Gulf of Eilat), a 99-mile-long extension of the Red Sea surrounded by four countries – Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Lush coral reefs flourish here, offering habitat for hundreds of fish and invertebrate species. The beaches and reefs have turned the neighboring cities of Aqaba, Jordan, and Eilat, Israel, into major tourist destinations that provide much-needed income for both countries.
But the gulf is also an important transportation route for oil, and its shores are lined with industrial plants, naval bases and chemical export facilities, all of which threaten to spoil the delicate marine ecosystem.
So, apparently, the aim of this Israeli-Jordanian-United States project is to save the precious Gulf of Aqaba environment from undergoing the sad polluted fate of the Jordan river in Israel, Palestinian territory, and Jordan; and of the Mediterranean to the west of Israel and Lebanon.
So far, excellent. Not so excellent is that this project is financed by the North Atlantic military organization NATO. Neither Israel nor Jordan are NATO members. The Gulf of Aqaba is part of the Indian ocean, not of the North Atlantic. So, NATO is acting outside its territory here, as it is, in a much more bloody way, in the war in Afghanistan.
Not just geographically NATO is overstepping its boundaries here. They are doing as a military organization what civilian environmental and scientific organizations should do.
The only thing “green” about wars is some of the military uniforms. Armed forces are destructive from an environmental viewpoint; even more so in ruinous wars. NATO has also links to Shell and other big oil corporations; which are hazards for the environment, including in the Gulf of Aqaba.
The problem of civilian environmental and scientific organizations is that they are often under-funded. While the taxpayer-funded budgets of military organizations like NATO are often so bloated that they can afford to spend lots of money on spin doctoring and image building, including greenwashing; what they use this Gulf of Aqaba project for.
If both Israel and Jordan would spend less on wars and preparing for wars, outside money for this important project might be unnecessary. And if money from foreign countries, including NATO countries, is necessary, then it should come from environmental budgets. Which should be increased, instead of budgets for wars and for greenwashing military organizations.
The Red Sea is home to one of the world’s richest coral reef systems which, like almost all other reefs around the world, is suffering from the impacts of climate change. Coral bleaching is threatening not only the reef, but the tourism and fishing industries and the coastal communities who depend on it: here.
Gulf conservation and corporate ‘greenwash’. Environmentalists say that polluting corporations only fund Middle East conservation projects as a “greenwash” policy: here.
- US aircraft carrier docks in Eilat (timesofisrael.com)
- Large US Marine force lands in Aqaba to deploy on Jordanian-Syrian border (seeker401.wordpress.com)
- US military plane nearly hits Israeli jet over Eilat (timesofisrael.com)