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Water In The Middle East: Prospects For Conflict And Cooperation

1580 words - 7 pages

Reasons and origins of the conflict for water are dating back in the late 40s and the Arab-Israeli conflict. More precisely, the countries involved that represent potential conflict are Israel and Syria, as well as Israel and Palestine. For example, what can be mentioned here are Israeli aspirations to keep tight control over the economically important areas. This is directly linked to the water issues and diverting the water from one to another region. Other Arab countries are strongly opposing such shift as this will increase Israel’s industrial and agricultural capacities and, consequently, will encourage further Jewish immigration to the country. There have been plans to prevent such discourse, but Israeli`s military strikes have prevented these intentions back in 1965−1966 (Kershner, 2013). Even despite the fact that Israel and Jordan have settled their water disputes in the 1994 peace agreement (ibid), the water remains an important source of tension between Israel and Syria and, by default, between Israel and Lebanon. Water disputes are contributing towards failure of the peace talks between Israel and Syria in the 1990s, as well as those between Tel Aviv and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) (ibid). Many of the water resources in the peninsula have been under Israeli control and some of the construction works of the other countries have been the first significant attempts to challenge the above mentioned status quo.
On the other hand, apart for the prospects for conflict, the role of the international community has been from great importance, as it is trying hard to impose a middle ground between the conflicting countries. It is clear that no final agreement is possible until there are agreed-upon borders between the State of Israel and the State of Palestine, and some resolution of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Barton, 2013). Nevertheless, these issues should not be first on the agenda for solving the issue with water. Instead, resolution of water issues should not be dependent on the final resolution of the major political and territory issues. As a result, apart from the prospect for conflict, water can be perceived as a ground for finding rational ways to share and co-manage it. This would potentially solve the above mentioned and so called “big“ issues. In one word, water could help to create a climate of success that aids progress in other areas. One of the greatest difficulties is the fact that unlike land, water cannot be divided. A conflict arises also based on the trend that demands for water changes over time. These figures lead to serious international tensions and eventually armed conflicts in the Middle East, whereas states are viewing their political power as a core, rather than stabile water resources.

2.1. Case study
The problem is exacerbated by the fact that virtually all of the major land-based sources in the region (rivers) –are transboundary, i.e. are shared by two or more states ....

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