On Riverbank Where Jesus Was Baptised, Fragile Agreement To Clear Deadly Mines by the Forward

On Riverbank Where Jesus Was Baptised, Fragile Agreement To Clear Deadly Mines

Image by Getty Images

Ghost churches on the western bank of the Jordan River, near where Jesus is believed to have been baptized, could be reopened to pilgrims as part of a project to remove booby-traps and land mines.

The river banks were once a war zone between Israel and Jordan, and were littered with thousands of mines and unexploded ordnance. The two neighbors made peace in 1994 but it took many years before some mine clearing began.

The site in the Israeli-occupied West Bank opened in 2011 and has stairs for pilgrims to descend into the muddy river where John the Baptist and Jesus met two millenia ago.

The Halo Trust, a Scottish-based charity, is looking to raise $4 million to make western site safe. It says it will need two years to clear the small churches along 247 acres of land.

Most importantly, it says Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian authorities all support the effort.

The mined area is about a half-mile from Qasr al-Yahud where Christian pilgrims already flock to be baptized.

“After (the church area) is cleared and rebuilt, the local economy will benefit,” Halo’s West Bank project manager Ronen Shimoni said.—Reuters

Author

On Riverbank Where Jesus Was Baptised, Fragile Agreement To Clear Deadly Mines

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

On Riverbank Where Jesus Was Baptised, Fragile Agreement To Clear Deadly Mines

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close