Water in the Middle East: A Geography of Peace

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Finding streams in the desert has never been more urgent for the peoples of the Middle East. Rapid population growth and a rising standard of living are driving water demand inexorably upward, while the natural supply has not increased since Biblical times. Ensuring a fair and adequate distribution of water in the region is vitally important for building a lasting peace among the nations of the Middle East. Addressing water needs from a geographical perspective, the contributors to this book analyze and assess the impact of scarce water resources in the Jordan River basin countries and territories (Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria) as these long-time antagonists work toward peace. After geographical and historical overviews, the authors envision the future-what the water issues may be when Israel and Syria begin negotiating, the hydro-security needs of each nation, and the difficulties of planning for uncertainty. Without proposing any one ideal scheme, they discuss the possibilities for cooperative sharing of water resources, while honestly acknowledging the political constraints that may limit such projects. The final essay speaks to the needs of the one party so rarely represented at the negotiating table-the Jordan River itself.