Tags: Middle East | water | Israel | gas

Water a Key to Middle East Peace

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Monday, 17 Mar 2014 07:04 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Water is apparently a key part of the puzzle to peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Water, that is the lack of it, is also a significant factor in the underlying volatility that threatens the peace among various Arab governments' long-held control over and between their respective countries. Without solving their water problems, the monarchies and other governments are in deep trouble providing for their enormous growing populations.

Israel is the most economically successful country in the world without being able to rely on natural resources. Since its inception in 1948, it has had no choice but to import all of its energy needs and squeeze its limited water availability.

It is a country where drought has been a regular occurrence ever since the Jews occupied it in biblical times. What aquifers it possessed were being drained in growing food to feed its growing population.

Agreements with Jordan are necessary for both countries to survive without a water war. The Sea of Galilee is reaching new critical lows.

Israel became the world's expert on efficiently using water. It successfully recycles 80 percent of its household wastewater. Spain, the next most efficient, only recycles 30 percent, while the United States just flushes everything down the toilet.

The discovery of gas off the Israeli shores has enabled it to capitalize on its expertise in desalination of seawater. Desalination takes a lot of energy and is highly capital intensive to build.

With the Tamara Field now producing gas, and the Leviathan on its way, Israel has the energy sources to produce water from the sea. This allowed it to enter contracts to supply the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank and Jordan with both gas and water.

No doubt Egypt will soon follow. Even Lebanon could be tempted since while Iran can supply Hezbollah with missiles, it can't supply it with gas and water.

Making a deal with Turkey is, as they say in the Land of Oz, a horse of a different color. Any pipeline would have to go through Cypriot waters. That is not going to happen until the matter of the occupying Turks in Cyprus gets resolved.

These new discoveries of gas sources and the ability to make fresh water at will are already reverberating across the other Arab states. They have their own serious internal conflicts that are tied to both water and oil resources.

Ten of the top 15 most water-poor states in the world are in the Middle East. None of the remaining countries in the Middle East is among the water rich to be sure. They all have significantly rising young populations that will need to be fed.

Saudi Arabia devotes a substantial part of its oil resources to desalination plants to maintain its agricultural growth. Its agricultural still cannot grow enough to feed the population. Lack of water is the biggest deterrent. Of course, it does not help politically that these industries are owned by the ruling elite and their cronies.

However, as the Israelis are demonstrating, with enough water, even peace in the Middle East can become possible.

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Kleinfeld
Water is apparently a key part of the puzzle to peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
Middle East,water,Israel,gas
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2014-04-17
Monday, 17 Mar 2014 07:04 AM
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