Water - Special Bulletin (English)

This Special Bulletin presents the main facts and figures relating to the water
issue in the Middle East in general and in Palestine in particular. It looks at
the historical back ground of the water problem, and describes and dis cusses
the various water re sources in the region as well as their utilization and consumption. It further examines the critical is sues associated with water in
Palestine and looks at the various agreements, plans and negotiations with
regard to water. In addition, the bulletin puts the water issue in the con text of
international law, looking at governing principles, rules and conventions as well
as current research initiatives. The text is illustrated with photographs, maps,
graphs and tables, and also includes a list of further research sources.

July 1, 2002


The Middle East has a long history of dispute over water resources, with the Palestinian-Israeli dispute at its core. Israeli control over the water resources is a consequence of the military power it used in the 1967 War. The region's water crisis is not merely a question of supply. It has always been linked to power structures in the region, which maintain inequality among those who share the water. To date, all negotiation attempts on the reallocation of the water supply have failed because they were not based on the right of the equitable and reasonable utilization principle. Although the pretext is security, the desire of Israel to control water resources is, in fact, one of the main reasons why Israel is reluctant to transfer more territory to the PA. In 35 years of occupation, a growing population and ongoing settlement expansion have increased the burden on the limited water supply and worsened the already tense political relations. Owing to its complexity and significance to both the Israelis and Palestinians, the water issue has been delayed to the final status negotiations together with other critical issues such as Jerusalem, borders, refugees, settlements and security, which have yet to be resolved. This special bulletin intends to shed light on the present water situation in the Middle East with special emphasis on the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis.