Middle East Water: Water Fights

Israel settlements are again the focus of attention in discussions about the Road Map for peace. There have often been accusations that Israel is creating realities on the ground by building such settlements on occupied land. Now there are charges that reality is being created underground too, with Israeli use of water from Palestinian areas and a pipe supply system that cannot be split.

The World Today Published 1 July 2003 Updated 21 October 2020 4 minute READ

David Knighton

Conducts research into arid zone hydrology

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to cast a giant shadow over the political landscape. It discredits the participants, represents a threat to international security, and provides terrorist organisations like Al Qaeda with propaganda ammunition. And yet it could be resolved by the logical and moral expedient of creating a Palestinian homeland centred on the occupied West Bank.

One issue in particular inhibits that solution – water. Israel’s water economy is in such a dire state that the government will not countenance any handover of territory that could weaken the supply situation still further. One of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s main promises in the February election was ‘to hold on to the water sources of the [West Bank] aquifer.’ The Palestinians are paying the price for a hydrological crisis.

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