(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
While Jordan and Egypt are not above issuing sharp rebukes to Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians, preserving the planet apparently supersedes regional politics.
Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) revealed Thursday that he had recently raised the idea of a massive joint Israeli-Egyptian solar project in the Sinai desert with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Ben-Eliezer, speaking on the last day of the third annual Eilat-Eilot International Renewable Energy Conference, said he suggested the idea to Mubarak during his recent visit to Egypt accompanying Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
"Egypt has the requisite space, and Israel would contribute its technological know-how," said Ben-Eliezer. "In our discussions with President Mubarak he expressed much interest in the idea and we will be working together with Egyptian government representatives to advance [it]."
Ben-Eliezer said the project would provide enough energy for both Israel and Egypt, as well as a surplus to be sold abroad.
Egypt's Sinai Desert is potentially a prime location for the establishment of a mega-solar project; its clear skies, flat topography and annual average solar concentration of 2,300 KWh per square meter make it very suitable for the installation of commercial solar technologies.
The Egyptian Embassy did not respond to a request for comment.
In another interesting development, Salah Azzam, director of the Bio-Fuels Division at the National Energy Research Center in Jordan, outlined his plans for the establishment of an Israeli-Jordanian bio-diesel plant by the end of 2010. The plant would be built along the border between Jordan and Israel and would be operated by representatives of both countries.
"This project could serve as a great boost for establishing peace and security in the region and could promote peace efforts between Israel and its neighbors," Azzam said.