Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Blogging may be light for a bit, as I've got some deadlines to meet. On the other hand, it's a bad habit that's hard to buck, so who knows...

Last October Amnesty International published a report about how Israel is drinking all the Palestinian water. (Here's the summary, and here's the 112-page report). Only this morning, while looking for something else, did I see that Israel's Water Authority posted a reply back in November, which in turn relies on a report posted back in March 2009, here. I skimmed over the summary of the Amnesty report, and read the 9-page November response; the two longer documents I'll need more time for - whenever. Especially as the little reading I've done convinces me that it's a complex topic. You have to know lots of stuff in order to be able to make sense of the different positions. Merely bandying numbers around won't fly. Not if you're serious. There are hydrology issues, there are legal issues, there are diplomatic issues (who signed what and what does it mean), there are economic issues, there are political issues - and without a reasonable grasp of the essentials, the so-called human rights issues can't be seriously addressed.

I'm posting merely as a public service. If anyone wishes to read the documents and tell us what's in them, great. I'll even go further: if anyone wishes to write a serious article about what's going on, I'll gladly host them here (tho there are vastly more popular venues elsewhere).


Anonymous said...

just to add to the difficulties I just read this mind-boggling article

the village sits on top of water supplies

- way back the villagers opted to be Israeli citizens but now they rather want to be Syrians (but keep their Israeli thing or part of it or not really be open about it, while enjoying themselves complaining about the Israelis) on the other hand they are wanted by Hezbollah which seems to be the one thing they do not want and all the while the water is flowing

One thing baffled me though - if it is an Israeli village why did the Israeli Army MOVE in - if the German army would find a greater presence in my town necessary I wouldn't say they had "moved in", they are "my" army on "my" territory - also once the people have opted to be Israelis and have been accepted as such how can they turn into a no-man's-land - just because others say they want to "integrate" them?
baffling, endlessly baffling

Yaacov said...

Silke -
Yes, Ragar is a fun place. Here's what I wrote about it in Right to Exist (p.134-5):
There is also a curiosity connected to the Golan: the town of Ragar. It lies at the meeting point of the Golan, Lebanon and Israel: over the shoulder of Mount Hermon, geographically separate from Syria, but politically part of the Golan. At the end of the Six Day War a delegation of the townspeople made contact with an IDF unit, to ensure that they, also, come under Israeli control. Most of the townspeople have since acquired Israeli citizenship, and apparently many vote for the hardline Likud. When Israel retreated to the international border with Lebanon, in 2000, it turned out that the northern houses of the town were in Lebanon, but the townspeople refused to be divided, so there are currently a few hundred Syrian Israelis living in Lebanon. The significance of the story is the way it contradicts everything one expects.

Victor said...

Thanks for the link to the Water Utility rebuttal, Yaacov. Clear, concise, and in ENGLISH!

Every once in a while the BBC or Guardian will publish a hit piece on Israel stealing Palestinian water. Of course, we average people with day jobs can often do nothing to refute this.

As you cite often, all it takes is a kernel of truth - Israel uses more water than Palestinians - to create an enormous lie - Israel steals water from Palestinians - and then you need a SWAT team of engineers and professionals to claw your way back to sanity.