Ground Water Resources and International Law in the Middle East Peace Process
Next to issues of land, water resources are the major bone of contention in the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. The objective of negotiations is de facto setting the clock back to the eve of the Israel War of Independence, when the Jews accepted the 1947 UN resolution of partition, while the Arabs rejected it. The Arabs now accept the principle of territorial partition, but at the same time, they demand re-apportioning of resources, mainly of water. The Palestinians contend that the/acts created on the ground unilaterally by Israel during the last 50 years, namely the agricultural development and the high water consumption by the Israeli urban sector, leave them without resources necessary for their development as a modern society. The issue of water is complicated by glaringly wide disparity in per capita water consumption between the two nations. While lines on the ground may separate two nations with conflicting territorial ambitions, apportioning of groundwater between Israel and the future Palestinian State proves to be one of the most intractable issues in the Middle East Peace Process. Moreover, neither international nor domestic law provides an adequate answer to questions of ownership or rights.