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Just as politics has shaped the history of water in Palestine and the region, the future also depends on politics. Many attempts have been made to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict over the last 65 years. Whether and whenever this is achieved, a central component of the resolution will be the issue of shared water resources. Until such time, one can only hope that a spirit of mutual cooperation and a continued search for innovative solutions will overcome the technical, social, economic and political challenges of meeting one of the most basic of needs of an ever-growing population. That is, the need for fair and equal access to sufficient amounts of clean, affordable water.
The Palestinian water sector faces challenges that are of a different nature to the challenges faced by the rest of the region. Palestine is occupied and Palestinians have been denied access to their resources including the groundwater that flows under their feet. Resolving the water conflict with Israel, restoring of water rights and establishing a sound shared system of management are essential to build a viable Palestinian state and to its protect natural resources.
The conflict over the Jordan River Basin must also be resolved so that the flow of the river and its tributaries can be at least partly restored and the shrinkage of the Dead Sea can be halted. In short, water needs to be taken out of the conflict and depoliticized so that closer cooperation between countries in the region can help secure supplies for future generations.
- Authors: Fanack Water Editorial Team
- Peer Reviewer: Dr. Shaddad al-Attili – the head of the Palestinian Water Authority from 2008 until 2014. He is currently the Palestinian minister at the Negotiations Affairs Department and the lead negotiator in charge of water and environmental issues