Archive for the ‘Israel in the Arab and Muslim Environmental Discourse’ Category

Ali Hattar – Israel’s Thirst for the Nile’s Water

July 9, 2011

04-05-2010

What is taking place regarding the Nile’s water is not a simple matter… Without exaggeration… It is as important as war itself…

 

Ali Hattar

Lieberman, the foreign minister of the wrathful Zionist entity, is taking a tour around African countries that are connected with the Nile… and before time elapses, and before those who are in charge of us take the initiative to beg peace from Zionists, they have to thoroughly read what is taking place. 

All Arab nationalist forces have to read what is taking place… Because it only concerns the resistance… It is the starting point for controlling the entire region and its resources… It is a water war… We know the historic motto of the “state of the Jews”… From the Nile to the Euphrates… or from the Euphrates the Nile…  Egypt’s great river as said in the Bible… The motto means water… water… And today it means gas and oil too.

Water is a basic necessity after the political and the military for the survival of the “state of the Jews”… which is not hidden from anybody… Zionists want water even if they have to steal it as they stole Arab land… And the Jordan River, the Litany River, Wadi Araba and the West Bank water is their business too, as well as interfering with Jordanian, Lebanese and Syrian water matters, which is well known by all. 

Shall Zionism be able to fulfill the geographic dream of establishing a state from the Nile to the Euphrates? But they did not give up their will to achieve the “results of its establishments” even without establishing it… That is controlling the region and its resources, markets and decisions. And if they achieve it they shall control the Nile water and that of the Euphrates too… The Nile is nearer, that is why they want to control its waters. 

The obstacles and prohibitions are not the Egyptian government… Sadat promised it to them. 

The prohibitions and obstacles are due to the stance of the Egyptian people, and objections of some active states and the states of its sources. 

The Egyptian popular stance, which could be handled by the Government tied with the Camp David Agreement, which forms an extension of the Sadat Government since his famous visit to the Zionist entity. 

As for the opposition Africa countries, it is a matter that the Zionist entity shall handle, and for this reason Lieberman’s visit took place in Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda.  

Before commenting on the subject it we should give the reader some information:

The countries that have relations with the Nile River are: Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, The Sudan, Eretria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Congo and Egypt the estuary state, that is the end of the river pouring into the Mediterranean sea, after irrigating the Nile Delta and giving it life. The Nile is 6,700 kms long and its arteries measure 3,700 kms, and there are more than ten dams constructed on it and its arteries.

Its volume is more than 84 million cubic meters/year, out of which Egypt’s share is 55 billion, and to know the significance of these figures we have to know that what Egypt takes is 83% of its requirements for irrigation… which forms 80% of its total requirements (which is fulfilled from underground water sources). 

That is what is left for Egypt without sharing it with Zionists, which means that it is not enough for Egypt’s requirements, that is called “The Gift of the Nile”. Egyptian experts figures that Egypt shall suffer a shortage of water by 2017 due to great increase in the population, and the change in environmental conditions, and a possible increase of the upper Nile population consumption.  

Egypt has agreements and accords with the Nile basin countries, which gives Egypt the lion’s share of its waters, and as the 1929 agreements Egypt has a veto right on all future projects that are planned for the upper Nile.

But as for our region it is important to know the following:

·      The Zionist individual who occupies our land consumes 15 times more water than the Arab individual. The ratio differs among Arab citizens between one part of the Arab homeland and another).

·       The Zionist entity is in bad need of the Nile water, and its president Peres suggested to build a pipe from Egypt and the occupation Zionist entity instead of the far away Turkish water, Hertzl too spoke about the matter in 1903 that is, long before stealing Palestine…!

·       The Nile doesn’t simply form a water source, but it forms a means of pressure and extortion that it uses to pressurize Egypt as the Nile forms its most vital element of national security. (More than Sami Shehab’s famous cell during the last Gaza war, which the Egyptian regime claims to be the leader of Hezbollah)! President Al-Bashir said in 1994 that the Zionist entity focuses on the Nile to practice its influence on Egypt. I mention this for the sake of documentation, and we all know what the enemy wants whether they say it or not.

·       The Nile River is the nearest water source to the Zionist enemy, it is only a few dozen kilometers from the Gaza Strip, now the Nile water is 40 kms away from Rafah, that is almost on its border.

·       Anwar As-Sadat promised Zionists in his speech in 1979 in Haifa to give them the Nile water, and said it is presented as a MONUMENT TO THE PEACE RECORD contributed by the Egyptian people in the name of millions of Moslems, and shall be like Zamzam water (which is from a well at the Kaaba compound) For believers!!! As-Sadat spoke about the peace canal that he wants to build under the Suez canal to transfer the Nile water to the Sinai and the Negev desert in the south of occupied Palestine. And he sent a letter to Begin who was the Zionist state’s Prime Minister at the time, promising to have it reach Jerusalem… Begin replied saying, “If the Nile water means that we have to give up Jerusalem, we don’t want it.”)… More than one Zionist source commented about the presence of the Bilharzias in the Nile water, As-Sadat replied, “they want it with or without Bilharzias!!!”

The enemy experts presented studies and maps for the project, among whom Dr. Alisha Kelly, suggested to give the water to Arabs on the way (Gaza) so as to be a justification to be accepted by the Arab people. (That would be a generous sacrifice by the Zionist occupiers!!!)

All international and Arab observers and experts unanimously agreed that Lieberman’s visit targets Egypt and its relation with upper Nile states, as well as the Nile waters itself, and the enemy press confessed accordingly. Nobody rejected this clear message except for the ministers of the Egyptian government and its spokesmen, who believe in the good intentions of the enemy, especially Lieberman’s who threatened to bombard the High Dam during his first week in Netanyahu’s government. 

Ambassador Ms. Muna Omar, deputy minister of Foreign Affairs for African affairs, said: “Egypt has no fears from this visit, because it has no relation in jeopardizing Egypt’s share in the Nile waters, and it doesn’t include the establishment of any projects or dams on the Nile in these states”. (Poor one, she doesn’t have the time to read newspapers!!!!) 

Muhammad Nasr El-Dine Allam, The Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, declared that Lieberman’s visit has no effect on his country’s relations with Nile basin states!!! 

Khaled Othman, former ambassador in Zimbabwe, said: “Any state has the full right to move around in any region in the world”. (Simple for athletic purposes!!!)  

I don’t know if those people are fit for the responsibilities that are laid on their shoulders, and whether defending the enemy is a must for their employment responsibilities. 

We return to the visit…

The Zionist minister’s visit was limited to the African states that the Nile runs through and its sources flow from. This is not just a coincidence!!!

Zionist affairs expert in Al-Ahram research center, Dr. Omar Jad said, “Lieberman aims at instigating the Nile basin states against Egypt.” (We wonder whether the Camp David people read what their experts write?!) 

We read in the Zionist press, Haaretz and others the following:

1) Lieberman was accompanied by economists in the field of arms industry and trade, aviation, ships, energy, communications and agriculture.

2) Lieberman discussed water matters and agriculture with these states.

3) In Ethiopia he discussed, as per Haaretz, possible Zionist assistance, because Ethiopia overlooks navigation routes, and has influence on Somalia because of the influence of Al-Qaida there, and has importance towards Iranian activities in Africa, and it looks towards permitting Zionist military men working there!

The French daily, Le Figaro, wrote under the title: “Lieberman’s visit to Africa threatens Egypt”. The paper uncovered “Israeli” plans to reach the Nile waters after the temptations that it previously gave to African states to redistribute the river’s waters. 

As is well known, the Zionist enemy doesn’t base its policies on its friendship with Arab rulers, its agreements with them or their sincerity to them. Examples are numerous, there are possibilities that the list is subject to permanent changes, and the possibilities of the coming of the rejectionists of the Zionist presence may occur at any time, as thus the enemy works on strategic basis to ensure its continuity, even if this would threaten the security of these rulers. 

The enemy knows that the Nile water is a matter of life and death for Egypt throughout the ages:

The government of Muhammad Ali Pasha in the nineteenth century, put an emergency plan for military interference against any state that could form a threat for the flow of the Nile waters. 

Even As-Sadat, as we know, who promised Zionists a share of the Nile water, ordered the military to lay down and emergency plan in 1979 when Ethiopia declared its intention of building a dam to irrigate 90 thousand fadans on the Blue Nile basin, and threatened to destroy this dam.

We shall have a quick review through media of the states Lieberman toured regarding the declared stances of these states.

·       Kenya’s Prime Minster said that Egypt makes good use of the Nile for irrigation and agriculture, and it is a shame that Kenya would not do as Egypt does, and his country should make use of all available water sources to increase its production. (What the Kenyan Prime Minister said should be thoroughly read and analyzed by Egyptian officials).

·       “The Daily Nation”, a Kenyan newspaper wrote: “Lieberman signed with the Kenyan president a water sources management agreement for irrigation and construction between Kenya and ‘Israel’, and added that Kenya is in bad need of water projects that shall be supported by ‘Israel’. (So water with Kenya is a part of his visit).

·       Paul Kemanzi a writer in the Kenyan paper said: “It is a shame that help should come from a desert country such as Egypt that uses the Nile waters the source of which is lake Victoria, which falls between Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.” (It is a shame that Arab rulers would not read about this shame this Kenyan journalist like his Prime Minister wrote and talked about…!!!)

·       The Ghanaian daily “Statesman” wrote that Lieberman stressed during his tour on ‘Israel’s strengthening relations with African countries especially the Nile basin states, which is a meaningful matter related to Tel Aviv’s to have a role in the Nile basin. (The Nile water again, you the rulers of Egypt).

·       The Ethiopian “Jima Times” said: “’Israel’ can help African states to make use of the Nile waters against giving it a share of it, which shall affect Egypt’s share”. (The Nile again and again… you…)

Those in power in the states visited by Lieberman and their press express the situation of the Camp David government).

I shall not talk about the distribution of the Nile waters between Egypt and other Nile basin states. 

But I shall concentrate on the reaching of the Nile water’s to the Zionist enemy, which is the government complying with the Camp David agreement, which it is trying to hide! 

While the enemy state is trying fulfill its strategy, to take the water from the source, the summit Arab rulers pant running to advertise in the enemy’s press, ads in Hebrew to try to convince Zionists to accept the Arab summit’s view… even if they suffer thirst…

There are two sides to this case, laying siege over Egypt and the Sudan, the Nile waters, and laying siege over Egypt to dwarf its role and put pressure on it, and to receive a share of the Nile as per As-Sadat’s promise. 

Egypt’s accords with the Nile basin states gives it the Lion’s share of its waters, the enemy instigates these states against Egypt; as Egypt will succumb and give it the water it had always had an eye on, because Egypt’s accords with these states give it the right to deal conclusively, and prevent them from constructing projects without its permission, when it was able to do so, and not when its rulers weakened it, and when the basin’s state got their independence, and if Egypt refused to give the enemy the water, “Israel” shall stir the African states to put pressure on it, and deprive it of old privileges reached in accords… the result shall be Egypt’s thirst. 

Thus it is either the peace canal and the Nile water to the Zionist enemy, or a strong “Israel”  financially and technologically shall instigate these states, and even if Egypt gives the Nile water to the Zionist enemy and Egypt will get thirsty, that matter shall remain an eternal sword that “Israel” owns, it shall raise whenever Egypt slows down in giving the water, this is how the Camp David “leaders” defend Lieberman’s good intentions, this same Lieberman who threatened to bombard the High Dam, and about his visits the intention of which is to close the Nile water to flow into the dam, after retreating from his threat to bombard it. 

If the Zionist enemy takes the water after taking the gas from Egypt, then what use is the Arab “peace initiative”? 

As for the Sudan, which reflects on Egypt, I give the following text, even though it is not directly connected to the subject.  

“In an official speech that the Zionist minister of security, Avi Dichter, he gave in Tel Aviv on the 30th of October 2008, he stressed on the nicety of laying siege over Egypt by the Africans. He added: “When Israel specified its policy and strategy in relation to the Arab World it started a future exploration, and its dimensions and assessment that exceed the present and future scope. “Israel” targets the Sudan, because it forms a strategic depth for Egypt, thus we have to work to weaken the Sudan, because this is a must to support and strengthen the national Israeli security”.

 

See on-line at: http://pct-eu.org/en/news.php?action=view&id=21

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Zionist’s Future Wars Will Be Over Water Resources

July 8, 2011
08-11-2009,08:44Al Qassam Website/Agencies – Dr. Ghazi Al-Rabab’ah, a professor of political science at the university of Jordan, stated on November 7, 2009 that Israel’s future wars against Arab countries would be over water resources.

In a press statement to the Jordanian Al-Arab Alyawm newspaper, Rabab’ah said that the first war would be in the Jordan basin area in the Lebanese Shebaa farms.

He added that Israel also steals Gaza water resources and sends salt contaminated water from Tiberias lake to Gaza.

The professor stressed that Israel also steals 350,000000 cubic meters of water from Litani river in Lebanon, noting that Israel rejects any settlement with the Arabs which does not take into account the issue of sharing water supplies.

The professor also pointed out that Israel is one of the poorest countries in water resources in the world and its water supplies will run out in the coming years which portends that Israel will resort to the strategy of waging wars over water recourses in other places.

He also expected that another war could take place in the coming seven years against Egypt to control the Nile water.

 

See on-line at: http://www.qassam.ps/news-2020-Zionists_future_wars_will_be_over_water_resources.html

Sawsan Ramahi – Israel Is Stealing Palestinian and Arab Water

July 8, 2011

Briefing Paper – Mar 2010

By Sawsan Ramahi

World Water Day is upon us. Initiated by the United Nations in 1992 during its Conference on Environment and Development, 22 March 1993 was chosen as the first international day for water aiming to draw attention to the importance of fresh water and its availability. The commemoration of the day has since focused every year on a different aspect of the difficulties faced by people in obtaining fresh water.

There is no doubt that UN interest in this matter is of great importance, although the world body needs to do more than merely have an annual day on the issue. What is required is for the UN to put an end to the monopoly of water by any state which has water sources within its borders and to put an end to the diversion and theft of water from occupied lands.

When an occupying power exploits the resources of the occupied land at the expense of the original inhabitants, it builds itself on the ruins of what it has destroyed, and such theft of resources is obvious, even when the occupier tries to hide its actions behind noble principles. This malfeasance is made worse by claiming that the land in question is a gift from God and politically-motivated myths such as it is “a land without a people for a people without land”. When such wrongdoing is compounded even further by acts of genocide against the indigenous people, killing thousands and dispossessing hundreds of thousands in acts of ethnic cleansing, the situation is very serious indeed. Following on from the efforts to destroy the necessities of life for those under occupation, the occupier has sought to control the main necessity, the water resources. The de facto annexation and control of water in the occupied Palestinian territories has always been, alongside the colonisation of land, one of Israel’s priorities.

This long-standing aim of the Jewish state has been confirmed by confidential documents published by the British Foreign Office, in which David Ben-Gurion, writing in 1941, said, “We have to remember that for the Jewish state’s ability to survive it must have within its borders, the waters of the [rivers] Jordan and Litani


Israel’s control of Arab water

Since 1948 the Israeli authorities have sought to control the majority of the water resources in Palestine.
After the 1967 war Israel gained control of the main Arab water sources in the Middle East,

1. The upper Jordan River basin, which originates from Lebanon and Syria:

Israel Seized the Jordan River and stored its water in Lake Tiberius (the Sea of Galilee), then transported the water from north to south to feed the different areas of Israel. Israel gets 60% of this water, while Jordan gets 25% and Syria 15%, despite its source being within Syria’s borders. It has also prevented the Palestinians from reaching the Jordan River, destroyed all their pumps on the river and evicted the farmers.

As a result of the diversion of water from the river by Israel the land on both banks has been affected, while the salt level in the water has increased considerably.

2. Yarmouk River basin shared between Jordan and Syria:

When Israel occupied the Golan Heights, it prevented Syria from benefiting from its water; today 30% of Israel’s water comes from the Golan Heights. It also captured the Syrian water source in the Yarmouk River Basin. The Golan Heights is the main source of water flowing to the Jordan River and Lake Tiberius, which provide water to Syria, Jordan and Palestine; this is why Israel refuses to give up these water sources in any negotiations with Syria.

3. Large underground reservoirs in the West Bank, known as the Reservoir of the Mountain and the Mountain-Well; the Palestinians have been unable to have access to them since 1967.

  • When Israel invaded Lebanon in 1978 it controlled nearly 30% of the Litani River, and during the occupation of Lebanon in 1982 the Israelis benefited from the Wazzani and the Litani’s waters, transferring water from them to Israel, while expelling the Lebanese farmers dependent on them.
  • In 1989 the Israelis took advantage of the Hasbani and Wazzani waters by installing pipes for themselves, and despite withdrawing from Lebanon in 2000 there are still many Israeli artesian wells on the borders which reduce the groundwater in Lebanese territory.
  • Israel uses various means to control the waters of the River Nile, which is 6825 km long and has two main sources; the Equatorial Lakes Region of Southern Sudan and the Ethiopian plateau. Israel tries from time to time to cooperate with Ethiopia to build dams and other facilities to control the Nile waters, seeking to reduce Egypt’s share of water and put pressure on it in order to secure its share of Nile water. This much has been disclosed by senior officials.


Control over the waters of the West Bank and Gaza and the water crisis threaten their populations

Since Israel began its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip it has striven to remain in control of the water resources and diverted water from the Palestinian territories to the cities and settlements set up on the ruins of Palestinian towns destroyed in 1948.

Abdel-Rahman Tamimi, a water expert, says that the water battle with the occupation started early on, with military orders and systematic control of water basins, wells and springs since the occupation of the West Bank started in 1967. According to Mr. Tamimi, the water sources were placed under the control of the Israeli Civil Administration in the 1970s, and even after the Oslo agreement they remained under Israeli control, “which exacerbated the water problem in the West Bank.”

The Gaza Strip depends on the coastal underground water reservoir that lies under the Mediterranean Sea between Rafah in the south and north of Mount Carmel, a total area of 2200 km2, of which 400 km2 is located underneath the Gaza Strip. This groundwater is largely independent of the groundwater inside Israel because of the flow of water in an east-west direction into the reservoir; thus, the amount of water available to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip would be reasonable had Israel not confiscated more than 80% of the Palestinian groundwater to make up 20% of the Israelis’ total water consumption which stands at 2 billion cubic metres per annum. Due to this, it is estimated that this underground fresh water source will run dry within the next 8 years.

The Palestinian Water Authority has explained that the Gaza Strip is suffering from an annual water deficit of up 70 million cubic metres, noting that as a result of natural population growth in the Strip there are now more than a million and a half people depending on a single source of water, the coastal aquifer, to meet their needs. The authority also noted the negative effect on the quality of groundwater due to sea water intrusion, causing high salinity and adding to the high concentration of nitrates in the water, caused by the leakage of sewage and the return underground of irrigation water.

The authority’s report states that 90-95% of groundwater used for domestic purposes is not fit for human consumption and not compliant with the World Health Organization standards for drinking water, in terms of quality and quantity, which constitutes a serious threat to health and is a cause of many diseases affecting the population of the Gaza Strip.

The Water Authority says that the rate of water available per person per day is about 80 litres, equivalent to half the recommendation of the World Health Organization.

The West Bank depends on artesian wells for drinking and agricultural purposes. The capacity of running water and water springs in the West Bank ranges, according to the estimates of many experts, between 30 and 50 million cubic metres annually. The springs in the West Bank are estimated to have a capacity of about 75-115 million cubic metres. This was before the Israelis began to use 730 wells in the West Bank for different purposes. There are now 214 wells, of which only 20 are reserved for household purposes, functioning with a production capacity set by the Israeli authorities at about 37.9 million cubic metres annually. The remaining wells have dried up due to pumping from deep wells dug by the Israeli military authorities, or due to being abandoned.

The rate of water consumption of Israel citizens is 344 million cubic metres per year, while the consumption of Palestinians stands at 93 million cubic metres per year. The domestic consumption of Israelis amounts to 98 million cubic metres, while for Palestinians it comes to 56 million cubic metres per year. It is clear that the Israelis use and waste more water than anyone else in the region.

A study has been made of this issue by the Palestinian Institute for Economic Policy Research (MAS), prepared by Annan Jayyousi, a lecturer at the Faculty of Engineering in Al-Najah University and an expert on the subject of water, and Fathi Srougi, an expert on geopolitical issues relating to water.

Jayyousi referred to the volume of water resources in historic Palestine, which is estimated by Israelis hydrologists at about 2250 million cubic metres of renewable water, and includes 3 reserves within the West Bank area producing about 679 million cubic metres of water. According to international law, this water belongs to the Palestinians but they only get 118 million cubic metres. In other words, Palestinians get just 15% of their own water while the rest is consumed by Israelis.

Regarding the use of water for domestic purposes Jayussi said, “The supply quantity is estimated at about 130 million cubic metres in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; this means that the average person’s water supply is estimated at around 97 litres per day. That said however, the actual average consumption falls short of 70 litres per day, due to the high rate of wasted water.” This is due to overdue maintenance work on the pipe network, among other reasons. Jayussi estimates use by the industrial sector at a total of about 9 million cubic metres annually.

In the agricultural sector, the study shows that the average share of irrigated land for an individual is only 0.071 dunams (1000 m2). Furthermore the use of water for irrigation does not exceed 45 cubic metres per person, which is less than the prevailing rates in Jordan and Israel.

It must be noted that Israel has not allowed the Palestinians to control their water according to their needs, but tied them up in resolutions through which the Jewish state:

1. Limits the amount of water withdrawals to no more than 100 cubic metres per hour.

2. Limits the depth of drilled wells to 140 metres, requiring specific types of old pumps which are permitted in the West Bank, essentially limiting the capacity to extract water from these wells.

3. Dug huge wells in strategic areas where water accumulates across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in order to steal Palestinian water (60 wells in the West Bank, 43 in the Gaza Strip, and 26 along the armistice line between Gaza and Israel.

4. Adopted a strategy of building small dams to prevent the natural flow of surface water to the Palestinian areas   thus allowing the transfer of high quality water from Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories into Israeli cities, or selling this water to the Palestinians.

5. Builds settlements such that they are in areas with the highest quality underground water reserves to allow Israel to seize the water, directly or indirectly, a policy which has lead to the depletion of groundwater in the Gaza Strip.

According to a study by the Palestinian Information Centre, 150 Palestinian residential communities in the West Bank are not part of the water distribution networks. Most residents in these communities suffer from water shortages.

Hebron as a model

The city of Hebron, in the south of the West Bank, is considered the most deprived Palestinian city in terms of lack of water, where the average Palestinian individual consumes as little as 10 litres of water per day for extended periods of time.

The water problem in Hebron is primarily a result of the Israeli occupation authority’s control over water basins; Palestinians are not permitted to dig wells and the Israelis do not provide the water necessary for daily use. An example illustrates the measures to which the Israelis are prepared to go with this: the Israeli army surprised four citizens from the village of Soba, west of Hebron as they were drilling a well to collect rainwater; they were surrounded and arrested, their equipment was confiscated; they were fined and finally released with strict orders not to resume drilling.

Abdel-Rahman Rajoub has commented on this: “What is strange is that one of the detainees said that they had told the investigating officer, during the eight days that they were in custody, that the drilling was simply for the purpose of collecting rainwater. The officer accused them of ‘stealing groundwater’ and told them that rainwater collection is ‘forbidden’.”
Pools of water destroyed in Hebron

To the east of Hebron, the Israeli army destroyed four large pools that collect water, and deprived large areas of agricultural land of irrigation water, causing great losses to dozens of farmers. Several said that this is in order “to harass the Palestinians and force them into leaving the area, in order to clear it for settlement building.”

The residents in this fertile region have resorted to making holes in water pipes to get the water needed to irrigate their crops, even though this is at the expense of their drinking water.


The impact of constructing the wall on water sources in the West Bank

In addition to the tactics noted above that are employed by the Israelis to seize Palestinian water, the occupation authority has used the illegal “separation wall” to ensure that it also has control of three of the most important Palestinian water basins, depriving the Palestinians of their right of access in order to send this water to settlements. As the construction of what is basically an apartheid wall continues in the West Bank, Palestinian official sources confirm that it will annex to Israel about 95% of the water that is accessible in the Western Basin, which is estimated at about 362 million metres.

The area isolated behind the western part of the wall lies above two basins; the western basin and north-east basin, which have an estimated annual capacity of 507 million cubic metres. The area isolated in the east lies completely over the eastern basin which has an estimated capacity of 172 million cubic metres annually. Water is extracted from these aquifers by pumping from wells or from the natural springs. The estimated number of groundwater wells in these regions is 165 with a pumping capacity of 33 million cubic metres per year; the number of springs is estimated to be 53, with a capacity of 22 million cubic metres per year.

In the Jenin, Qalqilya and Tulkarem provinces, the land annexed by the wall is entirely congruent with the locations of groundwater, meaning that all the groundwater reserves are on the wrong   that is, the Israeli   side of the wall. This renders as useless any Palestinian attempt to extract water from those reserves; as such, the wall threatens to drive to extinction irrigated agriculture in the north of the West Bank.

According to the report by the Palestinian Water Authority, the wall has led to the loss of Palestinian access to more than 36 wells, which includes 23 located directly on the route of the wall, and 13 others nearby that were used for agriculture and drinking; these wells now lie between the wall and the old “Green Line” (the 1967 armistice line). The wells used to pump about 55 million cubic metres per annum, around 25% of the total extracted from the Western reservoir. The occupation authorities are also seeking, through the route of the wall, to seize more than 400 m3 which constitutes the entire capacity of the renewable groundwater West Basin, of which most is accumulated within the borders of the Palestinian West Bank.

Contamination of groundwater reserves in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

Israel drains the Palestinian groundwater, which has led to an increase in the levels of salts, nitrates and chlorides, as well as heavy metal contaminations such as copper and lead, which deem it unsuitable for drinking or agricultural use. The draining of wells has also caused severe leakage of salty groundwater into fresh groundwater in the West Bank; in the Gaza Strip seawater has leaked into the groundwater basin to fill the vacuum.
The spread of diseases

The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirms the results of tests showing that the water in the networks is contaminated frequently, leading to the spread of diseases among the population. Analysis has shown a link between the contamination of water and the spread of diseases, such as typhoid fever, meningitis and cholera. An official in the Ministry of Health monitoring committee confirmed that they are examining all water continually, whether it is drinking water, for agriculture or for other uses. He said, “There is an ongoing process of filtration and purification of the water in the wells which reduces the contamination and salt levels in the water.” The Israeli security forces hinder or prevent the implementation of many projects that have the potential to solve this problem, he added.


Conclusion

From the above we note that Israel is the cause of the water crisis for Palestinians in particular and for Arabs in general, a fact that the Jewish state refuses to acknowledge. Israel will continue with its plans to control more water resources, especially as it seeks to attract ever-greater numbers of Jewish immigrants.

Unfortunately, the Oslo agreement deferred negotiations of the issue of water to the anticipated ‘final status’ agreement, which was one mistake amongst many committed by the Palestinian negotiators. By agreeing to defer consideration of the most important issues until the ‘final status’ talks (including the status of Jerusalem, the return of refugees as well as the water issue), they have allowed Israel to introduce many changes and “facts on the ground” which the Palestinians will just have to accept.

The Jewish state avoids discussing the core issues such as the water problems of the Palestinians and tries to shift the focus to long-term solutions such as the search for alternative water sources, desalination plants and a reduction in the amount needed for agriculture.

It is worth remembering that unless proposals include Palestinian control over their own natural water resources, it is useless to talk about an independent Palestinian state, with real sovereignty over its air, land and sea. It is equally useless, to consider achieving genuine peace.

The United Nations should take its responsibilities seriously and oblige Israel to end its illegal occupation of Palestinian land, giving back to the Palestinians their inalienable rights, including control of its natural resources. As long as Israel is treated with kid gloves by the international community, as a state which is above the law, peace talks – proximity or direct – will continue to be diplomatic devices to give the Israelis more time to create more facts on the ground; and genuine peace and justice will remain as elusive as ever.

 

See on-line at: http://www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk/resources/briefing-papers/805-israel-is-stealing-palestinian-and-arab-water

Najib Saab – Water Apocalypse, Now

July 8, 2011

By Najib Saab, Issue 147, June 2010

Taking advantage of astounding Arab apathy, African countries of the Nile Basin met in the absence of Egypt and Sudan to agree on a plan for sharing the Nile water. Ethiopia, which is the source of 85 percent of the Blue Nile, is only able to utilize a small portion of this water for irrigation. Nevertheless, it is demanding the right to construct dams on the Nile for the generation of electricity, to be in turn exported to Europe. What is precarious is the notion of asking for a “fair share” from Nile water with the rights of selling it to other countries. This move was instigated by Israel’s offer to buy water from the source countries. Whereas the construction of the hydroelectric dams does not impact the quantity of water flowing to Sudan and Egypt in real terms, offering the Nile water on the market for sale as a commercial commodity would result in an indisputable disaster.

The Nile crosses 10 countries before its downstream reaches the Nile Delta estuary on the Mediterranean. The White Nile originates from Lake Victoria between Kenya and Uganda while the Blue Nile originates from Ethiopia. The two rivers meet in Sudan to merge in one large stream to Egypt. Around 90 percent of Nile water currently reaches Sudan and Egypt, which both have been given the right to veto any projects for the construction of dams or alteration of water use in upstream areas, through an agreement that was signed in 1929. The countries that have met in Uganda have decided to establish a new joint authority for the management of the Nile, based on new guidelines.

On another front, both Iraq and Syria are subject to a drastic water deficit, due to sharp reductions in the flow from Turkey, where the Tigris and Euphrates originate. In Jordan and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, water scarcity has reached dangerous levels, after Israel strengthened its grip on the Jordan River waters and stole a major portion of groundwater resources. Lebanon is losing its water due to mismanagement, pollution or simply wasting it in the sea.

We do not have to wait for the implications of the Uganda agreements nor the impacts of climate change as Arabs are already in the heart of the water catastrophe. Official figures have until recently estimated the per-capita share of water in Egypt to be 750-cubic meters per year in 2010, based on the assumption that the Nile flow is 55 billion-cubic meters. The amount of water actually reaching Egypt today does not exceed 44-billion cubic meters, reducing per-capita share to no more than 600-cubic meters annually, 20 per cent lower than the official figure.

The most recent water reports indicate that three Arab countries are the poorest in water availability in the world amongst 180 countries. In the list of the 19 water-poorest, there are 13 Arab countries. In four Arab countries the per-capita share is below 100-cubic meters – Kuwait, UAE, Qatar and Palestine – while in four other countries the figure is below 200-cubic meters – Libya, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan. There are five Arab countries with per-capita share less than 500-cubic meters – Yemen, Djibouti, Oman, Algeria and Tunisia – while Egypt, Lebanon and Syria are on the edge of water scarcity with less than 1,000-cubic meters per capita. The only two Arab countries that still pass the water stress line are Iraq and Sudan, at more than 1,000-cubic meters per capita, though unevenly distributed.

In the annual report published by the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) in 2008, we predicted, based on figures available then, that 2025 will be the ominous date when the average per-capita share in the Arab region will drop below 500-cubic meters annually, which is termed as severe water scarcity. The figures we are handling now and the conclusions reached so far by researchers working on the latest report to be published by AFED in November 2010, clearly indicate that we are in the heart of a water catastrophe and we will not have to wait for 2025 or the implications of the Uganda meeting about sharing the Nile.

Why is it considered that any allocation that is below 1,000-cubic meters per capita is water scarcity, while below 500-cubic meters is severe scarcity? Let us take notice that a cup of coffee of 200 milliliters requires 140 liters of water to produce the spoon of coffee to make it. One apple requires 70 liters while 1 kilogram of wheat needs 1,300 liters. One kilogram of beef requires 15,000 liters, and a pair of jeans will exploit 11,000 liters of water to irrigate the cotton to make it.

Arabs cannot afford to lose a single drop of water. Governments should immediately implement sustainable water management policies, adopt water efficiency measures, shift from irrigation by flooding to drip irrigation, develop crops resilient to salinity and requiring less water, recycle and reuse wastewater, and develop affordable technologies for sea water desalination.

Any delay to formulate and implement serious response to the water challenge corresponds to mass suicide. The water apocalypse is knocking on Arab doors, right now.

See on-line at: http://www.najibsaab.com/english/editordetails.asp?id=272

The Case against Egypt Selling Gas to Israel

July 8, 2011

July 4th, 2011

For what must be the third or fourth time since the Egyptian revolution began on January 25, the Sinai gas pipeline that takes Egyptian gas to Israel has been attacked. These attacks are not particularly dramatic, but are enough of a bother that it takes several weeks to restore the flow of gas to Israel — and often Jordan, which is affected by the pipeline. The people behind the attacks are thought to be Sinai-based Islamists who oppose the sale of gas to Israel, but we don’t really know for sure. The attack took place only 60km east of the Suez Canal, and it could very well be people from the Nile Valley carrying out the attacks — and they don’t have to be Islamists, either, since plenty of other people oppose the gas deal.

Since the revolution, the interim government has reviewed gas prices but thus far everything indicates that the sale of gas will continue. From what I’ve been able to gather (and I’d like to write something longer on this one day), Egypt was selling the gas to Eastern Mediterranean Gas (EMG), the private firm that then sold the gas to the Israeli National Electricity Company, at around $3 per mbtu (that’s million British thermal units — the standard measurement for these things). EMG then sold it to the Israelis for around $4.5 per mbtu, pocketing a 50% profit margin for no more than the transaction costs and some of the infrastructure between the two countries. The market price for gas (which is not as fungible as oil since it tends to rely on pipeline infrastructure unless shipped as LNG) is currently around $4.40 for futures in North America, but spot markets in recent years passed the $10 per mbtu mark. Either way, there is no doubt that the price of the gas sold by Egypt to EMG was well below market prices, and that the company made an easy profit without investment of its own (I’ll leave the issue of whether EMG sold the gas to Israel at a fair price aside.)

See on-line at: http://www.arabnewsblog.net/2011/07/04/the-case-against-egypt-selling-gas-to-israel/

Najib Saab – Water Apocalypse, Now

July 8, 2011
Water apocalypse, now
 
By Najib Saab, Issue 147, June 2010

Taking advantage of astounding Arab apathy, African countries of the Nile Basin met in the absence of Egypt and Sudan to agree on a plan for sharing the Nile water. Ethiopia, which is the source of 85 percent of the Blue Nile, is only able to utilize a small portion of this water for irrigation. Nevertheless, it is demanding the right to construct dams on the Nile for the generation of electricity, to be in turn exported to Europe. What is precarious is the notion of asking for a “fair share” from Nile water with the rights of selling it to other countries. This move was instigated by Israel’s offer to buy water from the source countries. Whereas the construction of the hydroelectric dams does not impact the quantity of water flowing to Sudan and Egypt in real terms, offering the Nile water on the market for sale as a commercial commodity would result in an indisputable disaster.

The Nile crosses 10 countries before its downstream reaches the Nile Delta estuary on the Mediterranean. The White Nile originates from Lake Victoria between Kenya and Uganda while the Blue Nile originates from Ethiopia. The two rivers meet in Sudan to merge in one large stream to Egypt. Around 90 percent of Nile water currently reaches Sudan and Egypt, which both have been given the right to veto any projects for the construction of dams or alteration of water use in upstream areas, through an agreement that was signed in 1929. The countries that have met in Uganda have decided to establish a new joint authority for the management of the Nile, based on new guidelines.

On another front, both Iraq and Syria are subject to a drastic water deficit, due to sharp reductions in the flow from Turkey, where the Tigris and Euphrates originate. In Jordan and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, water scarcity has reached dangerous levels, after Israel strengthened its grip on the Jordan River waters and stole a major portion of groundwater resources. Lebanon is losing its water due to mismanagement, pollution or simply wasting it in the sea.

We do not have to wait for the implications of the Uganda agreements nor the impacts of climate change as Arabs are already in the heart of the water catastrophe. Official figures have until recently estimated the per-capita share of water in Egypt to be 750-cubic meters per year in 2010, based on the assumption that the Nile flow is 55 billion-cubic meters. The amount of water actually reaching Egypt today does not exceed 44-billion cubic meters, reducing per-capita share to no more than 600-cubic meters annually, 20 per cent lower than the official figure.

The most recent water reports indicate that three Arab countries are the poorest in water availability in the world amongst 180 countries. In the list of the 19 water-poorest, there are 13 Arab countries. In four Arab countries the per-capita share is below 100-cubic meters – Kuwait, UAE, Qatar and Palestine – while in four other countries the figure is below 200-cubic meters – Libya, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan. There are five Arab countries with per-capita share less than 500-cubic meters – Yemen, Djibouti, Oman, Algeria and Tunisia – while Egypt, Lebanon and Syria are on the edge of water scarcity with less than 1,000-cubic meters per capita. The only two Arab countries that still pass the water stress line are Iraq and Sudan, at more than 1,000-cubic meters per capita, though unevenly distributed.

In the annual report published by the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) in 2008, we predicted, based on figures available then, that 2025 will be the ominous date when the average per-capita share in the Arab region will drop below 500-cubic meters annually, which is termed as severe water scarcity. The figures we are handling now and the conclusions reached so far by researchers working on the latest report to be published by AFED in November 2010, clearly indicate that we are in the heart of a water catastrophe and we will not have to wait for 2025 or the implications of the Uganda meeting about sharing the Nile.

Why is it considered that any allocation that is below 1,000-cubic meters per capita is water scarcity, while below 500-cubic meters is severe scarcity? Let us take notice that a cup of coffee of 200 milliliters requires 140 liters of water to produce the spoon of coffee to make it. One apple requires 70 liters while 1 kilogram of wheat needs 1,300 liters. One kilogram of beef requires 15,000 liters, and a pair of jeans will exploit 11,000 liters of water to irrigate the cotton to make it.

Arabs cannot afford to lose a single drop of water. Governments should immediately implement sustainable water management policies, adopt water efficiency measures, shift from irrigation by flooding to drip irrigation, develop crops resilient to salinity and requiring less water, recycle and reuse wastewater, and develop affordable technologies for sea water desalination.

Any delay to formulate and implement serious response to the water challenge corresponds to mass suicide. The water apocalypse is knocking on Arab doors, right now.

See on-line at: http://www.najibsaab.com/english/editordetails.asp?id=272