Barn Owls Are Peace Envoys

Israeli, Jordanian collaboration bodes well for Mideast prospects
By Theodore Bressman,  Newser User
Posted Jul 16, 2007 9:36 AM CDT
Shaul Aviel, center, an Israeli from Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, Jordanian veterinary surgeon Dr.Safwan Fawzi Al Hussein, right, and Jordanian agricultural engineer Baker Hasan Barakat examine a barn owl in...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The border between Jordan and Israel is not easy for citizens of either nation to cross. But it doesn't exist for the barn owls Israeli farmers use to keep rats from eating their date palm trees; they fly into nearby farms in Jordan all the time, and were being killed by the pesticides used there. Enlisting their neighbors across the border to try using owls instead was the only solution.

Despite no shortage of suspicion on both sides, an Israeli  kibbutz hosted a conference on organic farming, and gave the two dozen Jordanian farmers who showed up the materials to build nesting boxes. Now the owls hatching on the Jordan side are a potent symbol of the hope that cooperating to save the environment they share will pay a larger peace dividend.