Futuribles Journal n° 341

Géopolitique - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

Palestine: Overcoming Adverse Water Conditions


In this second article in a series on water-related violence, begun in the Futuribles issue of March 2008 , Pierre Blanc examines the Israel/Palestine case. He shows the extent to which, despite a substantial concentration of water in the West Bank, the Palestinian population finds itself in a precarious situation with regard to water. This relates mainly to Israel's stranglehold on a large part of the region's water resources and their management, together with its extensive use of irrigation in agriculture. The building of the West Bank Barrier between Palestinians and Israelis has simply accentuated this inequality in the use of regional water resources.
Despite this, Pierre Blanc informs us, it is not entirely implausible that this very unbalanced situation could be overcome. It is conceivable that some of the water controlled by the Israelis could be handed back to the Palestinians as part of the peace agreements, particularly if a reduction in the number of Israeli settlements could be assumed, but also if Israel were to take the (economically rational) decision to plant fewer "thirsty" crops or to sub-contract part of its agricultural production to the Palestinians (with a simultaneous increase in water supply). The jobs thereby created would contribute to raising the standard of living, which would in turn increase the consumption of higher-value-added Israeli products. But none of this can be achieved without the political will to do so.

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