Seeds Of Peace. The water issues in Israel and the Middle East. Written by: Katia Beasan. Introduction.
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The water issues in Israel
and the Middle East
Written by: Katia Beasan.
As far as we can go back in History, water has played a crucial role in the relations between the different countries of the Middle-East. More recently, it is obvious for every expert that the struggle for water is a key issue in the Israeli-Arab conflict and explains partly the 1967 war, a fact acknowledged by then-members of the Israeli government like Mr. Yigal Alon. Water is more than ever a sensitive issue in the Middle East and there will only be stability if this question is settled.
The crucial access to water also affects relations between other neighbors like Turkey, Syria and Iraq, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.
As high rates of population growth continue to put pressure on finite water supplies, regional and domestic tensions are set to heighten.
How population growth erodes water availability is also shown by a survey of the Islamic Network on Water Resources. This organization calculates the minimum water requirement in the 21 Arab League countries , 12 of the 21 countries could not meet their basic water requirements , only three countries - Iraq, Mauretania and Lebanon - would be able to meet the basic water requirements.
Concerning Israel and the Palestinian Territories, most estimates suggest that water consumption in Israel and Jordan will always rise.
responsible for wastewater regulations
A special World Bank study published in 1995 shows that the Middle .East and North Africa faces a future of increasingly acute water scarcity
In response to the mounting water crisis, projects are being developed to ship water from Turkey or Malaysia. Although their economics remain unproven, they might prove to be part of the answer.
Israel is showing serious interest in importing water from Turkey. Up to 150 million cubic meters a year would be extracted from the Manavgat River in southern Turkey. It would be transported either by converted oil tankers or in specially constructed large plastic containers that would float behind powerful tugs. The World Bank has been looking at
the scope for also supplying the Gaza Strip with water from the Manavgat River.
Europe, particularly its southernmost part, also faces some water shortages. And we have even problems between members of the European Union about this precious resource. This is the case for example between Portugal and Spain, all the rivers flowing into Portugal having their headwaters in Spain which would like to use more of it.
the European Union is also involved in the process of finding new solutions to the water crisis in the region. This is the sense of European Union involvement in the establishment of a new "Middle East Desalination Research Centre" in Muscat.
it is worth mentioning that it is in the interest of all the countries to further integrate the economies of the region to complement the strengths and reduce the weaknesses which each country possesses. Some have sound agricultural bases and adequate water resources, but are short of energy. Others have energy in abundance - being it oil or solar energy potential - but lack agricultural products and especially water. These states could help each other greatly provided that the political will to do so exists.