Foreign Policy Blogs

"No viable state if there is no water"

As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict trucks along, we shouldn’t forget about an important issue that often gets overshadowed: water.  Here’s a story from the PBS Newshour last night:

Israel is taking water from beneath Palestinian land.  But also, Israel is more industrialized than the Palestinian territories so it needs more water, Israel claims, and much water would be wasted if the Israelis tried to provide for the Palestinians because the Palestinians’ water infrastructure is realtively poor.  While Palestine’s water system leads to a lot of leakage and sewage disposal, Israel’s is more efficient: 70% of Israel’s household sewage is recycled for agricultural use.  (Though Israel’s sewage system does have its problems, as sewage spills in the West Bank demonstrate.)  Palestine then retorts that it’s Israel’s fault, for Israel has not approved Palestine’s proposed water projects.  (The 1993 Oslo Accords established a Joint Water Committee to deal with such things.)

So that’s the debate.  Regardless of who is at fault, I believe, as one man said to the Newshour, that there can be “no viable state if there is no water,” and thus the issue must be resolved.