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Past And Present Can Help Build Better Future For The States Sharing Water Resources (Israeli-Arab water conflict)

IWRA World Water Congress 2008 Montpellier France
5. Water Governance and Water Security
Author(s): Mohamed Asheesh
Dr. Mohamed Asheesh Oulu University of Applied Sciences Kotkantie 1 90250 Oulu, Finland mohamed.asheesh@oamk.fi

Keyword(s): water conflict, water sharing, Israel arab water conflict

AbstractWorldwide water resources are unevenly distributed and they are generally scarce in arid and semi-arid zones such as the Middle East. Lack of growth, distrust as a consequence of poor relations, use of force to solve conflicts and inefficiencies management and use of water resources are the problems besetting water resources. Israeli- Arabic in general and Israeli- Palestinian areas in particular are currently suffering from water scarcity which will explode within twenty years. If nothing is done, this scarcity will increase with time due to rapid population growth, drought, as well as global climate changes. With the expected population growth the gap will be around 37 percent in the Palestinian and 53 percent in Israeli areas by 2020. There is an urgent need to maintain a balance in water use between different parties in the area, to reduce water scarcity, as well as to bridge water gaps. Like in many other areas also in the area of water conflict resolutions history is repeating itself. There are numerous cases from past but also present, which can give a useful lesson in solving the complex relationship between riparian parties in Israeli-Palestinian water conflict. These cases point to the benefits of strong cooperation between riparian parties, rejecting sovereignty over water resources, integrated water resources management, building of institutions and development of human resources. Only when these are accounted for then also technical means for generating additional water resources can be successfully implemented. These practices must not only alleviate current problems but also pre-empt future water shortages. Past has shown that the United Nations often has a power to catalyst this process by forming international joint commissions and calling for international mediators to help resolve such conflicts. Harmonization of national regulations facilitates joint management of shared water resources. Harmonized national regulations cannot, however, replace an international agreement in the management of a shared aquifer or other trans-boundary water resources. Studying positive results and failures of the past and present attempts to resolve similar water conflicts, finding the effective practices for given cultural, social and political environment and will and commitment to implement these are a key elements of water conflict resolution.
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