Water wars (4)

The most obvious place for water wars to break out is the Middle East which is, already, the home of most of the world’s desalinization plants. Israel is, sill, the world’s leader in the technology and it has the world’s biggest, most effective and cheapest desalinization plants. Other oil rich Middle eastern states have built large plants of their own. Who doesn’t have any? Palestine. Well, it has one, small plant in Gaza, built with EU money but producing only “6,000 cubic meters of water a day, a small fraction of Gaza’s needs. In all, the population uses 150,000 cubic meters a day, most of it from a Israel-Sorek-Desalination-Plantdepleted coastal aquifer,” according to a report in The Times of Israel. Meanwhile, just a few kilometres away, neighbouring Israel has the world’s biggest and best deslinzation plant at Sorek where one plant provides enough clean water for 1.5 million people. Until recently desalinzation plants were the last resort for the rich because they were expensive to build, energy intensive to operate and had very high maintenance costs. The Israelis are changing all that.

Israel’s current government has no interest in a “two state solution,” but it is not clear, not to me, anyway, that there is any other alternative. Returning to some variant of the status quo ante where Gaza reverts to Egyptian control and some of the West Bank becomes, again, Jordanian is not in the cards. Remember 1970 when Yasser Arafat launched the Black September attacks against Jordan’s King Hussein? The war (and that’s what it was) wasn’t really over until 1971 and then only after thousands (mostly Arafat’s Palestinians) had been killed~ that situation is not something the Jordanians want to see again. Integrating the West Bank Palestinians into Israel is also, in my opinion, not in the cards. In the end Egypt, Israel and Jordan all need some sort of peaceful ~ which means at least modestly prosperous ~ Palestinian neighbour.

The only way Gaza and the however much of the West Bank the Israelis leave behind become even modestly prosperous and, consequentially, more interested in trade than killing Jews is if they have water.

We all, oil rich Arabs, Europeans, Americans, Australians , Brits and Canadians alike, have an interest in preventing more and even bloodier conflicts in the Middle East. Using Screenshot 2017-07-26 10.57.44Arab and Western money to buy Israeli technology to provide clean water to Gaza and the West Bank may be the best peacekeeping effort we could ever mount. It would mean new plants (and jobs) and pipelines (and jobs) and it would need trust ~ which is in terribly short supply. My guess is that the United nations is, probably, the worst agent to take charge of this, America is probably the second worst. Who should lead? I’m not sure … maybe the EU? Maybe a “coalition of the willing” comprised of, say, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Jordan, Kuwait, Norway, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden and the United Kingdom could raise the money and negotiate and oversee a HUGE public private partnership (P³) project. It would be a major exercise in soft power.

Maybe it would fail, but I think it would be better than another war.

By Ted Campbell

Old, retired Canadian soldier, Conservative ~ socially moderate, but a fiscal hawk. A husband, father and grandfather. Published material is posted under the "Fair Dealing" provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act for the purposes of research, private study and education.


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