Water as a Source of Contention and Cooperation

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Water as a Source of Contention and Cooperation
Water Resources in the Middle East: Israel-Palestinian Water issues — From Conflict to Cooperation edited by Hillel Shuval and Hassan Dweik. Berlin: Springer, 2007. 454 pp.

Olli Ruohomäki
Dr. Olli Ruohomäki. former deputy representative of Finland to the Palestinian Authority, is currently .senior advisor with the Ministiyfor Foreign Affairs. Finland.

The arid landscape ofthe Middle East and the expanding human settlements suggest that water scarcity is one ofthe most pressing issues that need to be addressed. The diminishing water resources are often evoked as potential sources of violent conflict in the coming decades. While it is true that there are many communities in the region with dire needs in terms of access to clean water, the resources themselves do not necessarily have to pose an obstacle to peace. Water Resources in the Middle East: Israel-Palestinian Water Issues — From Confiict to Cooperation tackles the thomy questions behind the discourse on Israeli-Palestinian water issues and demystifies the politics around the debate. It is a much-needed analysis ofthe state of affairs surrounding the region's water issues. The volume is a result of the 2"'* Israeli-Palestinian-lntemational Conference on Water for Life in the Middle East held in Antalya, Turkey, in October 2004. The majority ofthe papers are by Israeli and Palestinian experts, but there are important contributions by water scientists from outside the region. This is imperative in the Israeli-Palestinian context as my experience in the region has been that there is a need for inputs from comparative perspectives to infomi and enrich the local debate which can, at times, be rather parochial and entrenched. The book is divided into nine parts containing altogether 44 articles, ranging from the geopolitics of water issues and trans-boundary regional issues to the economics of water trade and markets to legal issues on...
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