Should Israel keep giving water to neighbors?
Despite drought and impending water crisis, Jewish state continues to uphold agreements according to which it must provide 85 million cubic meters of water to Jordan, West Bank, Gaza, and has even supplied more than required
The State of Israel is on the brink of a water crisis, but according to agreements signed by the State, it is required to transfer significant amounts of water to Jordan and the Palestinians.
According to a position paper filed by the Foreign Ministry to the State commission of inquiry on the water crisis, Israel has even been transferring larger amounts of water to its neighbors than required in the agreement.
Despite drought, agreement with Jordan upheld
In accordance with Israel's peace agreement with Jordan, Israel provides its neighbor to the east with 35 million cubic meters of water per year. In addition, Jordan has the right to ask Israel to pump 20 million cubic meters of flood water from the Yarmouk River per year. Israel is meant to keep the water and transfer it to Jordan in the summer.
Due to low precipitation and Syrian over-pumping of water from the river's sources, Israel finds it difficult to come up with the required 20 million cubic meters of water. Despite this, Israel was able to provide the full amount to the Jordanian minister of water and irrigation last year.
Foreign Ministry sources said similar demands were made in the prior drought years of 2007 and 2005, and Israel's willingness to supply the water despite difficulties has contributed to strengthening the ties between the two countries.
Palestinians getting more than agreed upon
Israel also supplies residents of the Palestinian Authority and Gaza Strip with water, in according with signed agreements. Until a permanent treaty is signed between the two entities, Israel is required to provide the Palestinians with 28.6 million cubic meters of water per year, with 5 million of them going to the Gaza Strip.
In practice however, Israel has given the Palestinians, through direct supply and drilling permits in new wells, over 65 million cubic meters of water – over double the required amount.
Israel is required to supply its neighbors with a total of 85 million cubic meters of water per year, but in reality actually transfers some 120 million cubic meters each year. According to the Israel Water Authority, the State will be 80 million cubic meters short of water, even after a number of water-saving steps are taken.
Should Israel continue to uphold agreements?
Since water has no political boundaries, it is difficult to settle disputes over rights to bodies of water. Israel has had its share of "water wars" in the past, when the Syrians and Lebanese diverted the Banias springs and the Hazbani River. The Palestinians have also made claims to rights of the water in the Jordan River Basin and the Mountain Aquifer.
Because of these disputes, the Foreign Ministry has stressed that the water issue is a strategic one. Water is part of Israel's general ties with its neighbors that hold the water sources under their sovereignty. At the same times, all water agreements have clear and significant repercussions on the Israeli water situation, and the ability for long-term planning.
Water is also used as a bridge between the parties. Foreign Ministry sources said that even in times of tension with the Palestinians, the joint water commission continues to convene. Water is also at the center of many regional development programs in which the United States, European Union and Japan, among others, are involved.
Furthermore, there is the humanitarian matter, and each person's basic human right to have access to clean water. Not to mention the aspect of international laws on water that Israel cannot violate.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Baruch Hashem, this topic is finally making news. Actually, WATER SHOULD BE CUT TO THEM ALTOGETHER. THEY ARE OUR ENEMIES, AND HAVE SHOWN IT TIME AND TIME AGAIN. Time to be smart and strong.
08:39 , 03.06.09
Posted by DS at 1:28 PM