The Jordan River
The Middle East region is known not only for its ideological, religious, and geo-political differences and disputes but also for the fact that it is extremely arid. The scarcity of water is connected to meteorologic, geographic and demographic factors. Jordan and Israel are highly dependent upon the Jordan River. Jordan, however, is facing another environmental problem which increases the state's dependency on the water of the Jordan River, (Abu-Taleb, 1994). The need for water and the continuing hostility between Israel and the surrounding Arab states has placed the Jordan River as a central bargaining chip since Israel's establishment in 1948. The Israeli War of Independence was rooted in the fact that the Arab countries considered the State of Israel to be illegitimate. Connected to these declarations, the Arab states have persistently denounced the unilateral diversion of the Jordan River as completely illegal. The Israeli response has been that the surrounding Arabs nations were never willing to let Israel exist in peace. These historical disagreements intertwine with the dispute between Israel and Jordan in which the Jordan River plays a main role. In order to understand the core of the conflict between Israel and Jordan around the Jordan River, it is important to note the different perceptions of water between the two countries. Jordan, as part of the Arab world, perceived the water problem as part of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Therefore, for Jordanian, water was always a matter of an Arab national pride (Copaken, 1996). For Israel, as a young country, water seemed to be an integral part of territory and a necessary resource for development (Copaken, 1996). As the population of Israel grew, the reliance on the Jordan River grew to over 50 percent of their water wage. In the early 50's Israel created a National Water Carrier to transport water from the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee to the Negev desert. These new waterways...
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6. Copaken S. Nina, "The perception of water as part of territory in Israeli and Arab ideologies between 1964 and 1993: Twoard a further understanding of the Arab-Jewish conflict", (Working paper No.8), University of Haifa, May 1996.
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