One Resource Two Visions: The Prospects for Israeli-Palestinian Water Cooperation
With the signing of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (Oslo Accords) in 1993, the Israelis and Palestinians embarked upon a difficult path to share their joint water resources. Despite international efforts to encourage joint technical projects and institution building, obstacles remain for obtaining a comprehensive water agreement. This article explicates the main problems hindering water cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. It examines the different bargaining positions of the Israelis and the Palestinians in the water negotiations. Both the Palestinian and Israeli publics have different perceptions regarding the way the water issue should be resolved. The Palestinians tend to focus on the issue of water rights and compensation for water used by the Israelis during the occupation, and the Israelis instead tend to minimize issues related to international water law and emphasize technical solutions for future water sharing. These differences in perceptions and interpretations of international law will influence the nature of any future water agreement. This article argues that issues such as compensation and environmental liability could be added to the water negotiations as a way to advance a water-sharing agreement. Yet, there is little precedence in international law concerning how to assess and enforce environmental compensation and liability between states. © 2002 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
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