Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database | Publications

Medzini, Arnon and Aaron T. Wolf, Aaron. 2004. Towards a Middle East at Peace: Hidden Issues in Arab-Israeli Hydropolitics. Water Resources Development, Vol. 20, No. 2, 193-204. [PDF file]

When peace negotiations do one day resume between Israelis and Arabs, shared water resources will again take centre stage, acting both as an irritant between the parties, and as a tremendous inducement to reach agreement. The 'hidden' hydropolitical issues that will need to be resolved between Israel , Lebanon and Syria in the course of eventual boundary talks are considered. Two of these issues, the village of Ghajar and its relation to the Wazani Springs, and the possibility of groundwater flow from the Litani to the Jordan headwaters, change the fundamental understanding of the relationship between hydrologic and political claims, and could threaten the entire approach to water negotiations both between Israel and Syria and between Israel and Lebanon . Fortunately, other agreements within the basin can inform the path solutions here might take. The most critical step towards conflict resolution is separating the concepts of territorial sovereignty from water security. This can be done most effectively by offering joint management, monitoring and enforcement strategies, as well as encouraging greater transparency in water data across boundaries.