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Part IV: The Dead Sea

10. Principles for confidence-building measures in the Jordan River watershed
11. Alternative strategies in the inter-state regional development of the Jordan Rift Valley

10. Principles for confidence-building measures in the Jordan River watershed

International water rights law
Cooperative watershed development
Technological and management alternatives for the future

Aaron T. Wolf


Since regional water talks began in May 1992 in Vienna, Austria, in the context of multilateral negotiations between Arabs and Israelis, the inhabitants of both banks of the Jordan River have been meeting on and off to see if, after years of unilateral development, they can treat the watershed as nature designed it - one integral unit. It has long been known by hydrologists and demographers, and is increasingly recognized by policy makers, that a political solution cannot be reached among Israel, its Arab neighbours, and Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza without addressing regional water shortages. However, because watershed planning lends itself to a regional approach, and because issues of water are also tied to issues of regional security and immigration, resolving conflict over water may become the most tractable of the subjects to be dealt with during regional peace negotiations. Resolving water conflicts could provide the opportunity for the confidence-building steps necessary to reach accord over other, more contentious, topics as well.

This chapter summarizes the hydropolitical conflict between the riparians of the Jordan River watershed, evaluates methods for achieving equity in water rights claims, and provides some options for water projects to be developed in cooperation-inducing stages, as changing political developments allow.

I first survey the current hydropolitical positions of the co-riparians as well as the physical hydrography of the region. I then describe the current status of international water law and the legal challenges of Jordan River hydropolitics. Borrowing from "dispute systems design," a comparatively recent sub-field of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), I go on to describe how water projects may be implemented in cooperation-inducing stages - the principles for confidence-building. The challenge for political leaders in the watershed is putting these principles into practice. The final section describes many of the technical and policy options that have been proposed both to increase water supply and to decrease water demand in the region. These technical and policy options are organized to be developed step-wise, with greater benefits accruing with greater regional cooperation.


The fluctuating waters of the ancient Middle East have given rise to legend, extensive water law, and the roots of modern hydrology: the flood experienced by Noah is thought to have centred its devastation around the Babylonian city of Ur, submerging the southern part of the Euphrates for about 150 days, while the code of King Hammurabi contains as many as 300 sections dealing with irrigation. The practice of field surveying was invented to help harness the flooding Nile (El-Yussif, 1983). In addition, the waters of the region were occasionally intertwined with military strategy as, for instance, when Joshua directed his priests to stem the Jordan's flow with the power of the Ark of the Covenant, while he and his army marched across the dry river bed to attack Jericho (Joshua 4).

In the centuries since, the inhabitants of the region and the conquering nations that flourished and disappeared have lived mostly within the limits of their water resources, using combinations of surface and well water for survival and livelihood (Beaumont, 1991, p. 1). At the beginning of the twentieth century, as the competing nationalisms of Jews and Arabs began to re-emerge from the ruins of the Ottoman empire, the quest for resources took on a new and vital dimension.

In the years that followed World War I, the location of water resources influenced the boundaries, first between the British and French mandate powers that acquired control over the region, and then between the states that developed subsequently. The Zionist border formulation for a "national home" presented at the Paris Peace Talks in 1919, for example, was determined by three criteria: historic, strategic, and economic, with economic considerations being defined almost entirely by water resources. The entire Zionist programme of immigration and settlement required water for large-scale irrigation and, in a land with no fossil fuels, for hydropower. The development plans, and the boundaries that were required, were "completely dependent" on the acquisition of the "headwaters the Jordan, the Litani River, the snows of Hermon, the Yarmuk and its tributaries, and the Jabbok" (Ra'anan, 1955, p. 87).

Between World Wars I and II, water became the focus of the greater political argument over how to develop the budding states around the Jordan watershed, particularly Israel and Jordan, and what the "economic absorptive capacity" would be for immigration. Development plans included the Ionides Plan (1939), a British study that suggested that water would be a limiting factor for any additional immigration to Palestine, and the Lowdermilk Plan (1944), which suggested in contrast that, with proper water management, resources would be generated for 4 million refugees in addition to the 1.8 million Arabs and Jews living in Palestine at the time. British policy makers came down on the side of the Ionides Plan, invoking "economic absorptive capacity" to limit Jewish immigration and land transfers for the duration of World War II.

As the borders of the new states were defined, sometimes by warfare, in the 1950s and 1960s, each country began to develop its own water resources unilaterally. On the Jordan River, the legacy of the Mandate and the 1948 Arab-Israeli war was a river divided in a manner in which conflict over water resource development was inevitable. By the early 1950s, Arab states were discussing organized exploitation of two northern sources of the Jordan - the Hasbani and the Banias (Stevens, 1965, p. 38). The Israelis also made public their All Israel Plan, which included the draining of Huleh Lake and swamps, diversion of the northern Jordan River, and construction of a carrier to the coastal plain and Negev Desert - the first out-of-basin transfer for the watershed (Naff and Matson, 1984, p. 35).

In 1951, Jordan announced a plan to irrigate the East Ghor of the Jordan Valley by tapping the Yarmuk. At Jordan's announcement, Israel closed the gates of an existing dam south of the Sea of Galilee and began draining the Huleh swamps, which lay within the demilitarized zone with Syria. These actions led to a series of border skirmishes between Israel and Syria, which escalated during the summer of 1951 (Stevens, 1965, p. 39). In July 1953, Israel began construction on the intake of its National Water Carrier at the Daughters of Jacob Bridge (Gesher B'not Ya'akov) north of the Sea of Galilee and in the demilitarized zone. Syria deployed its armed forces along the border and artillery units opened fire on the construction and engineering sites (Cooley, 1984, pp. 3 and 10). Syria also protested to the United Nations and, although a 1954 resolution for the resumption of work by Israel carried a majority, the USSR vetoed the resolution. The Israelis then moved the intake to its current site at Eshed Kinrot on the north-western shore of the Sea of Galilee (Garbell, 1965, p. 30).

Against this tense background, President Dwight Eisenhower sent his special envoy Eric Johnston to the Middle East in October 1953 to try to mediate a comprehensive settlement of the Jordan River system allocations (Main, 1953). Johnston's initial proposals were based on a study carried out by Charles Main and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) at the request of the United Nations to develop the area's water resources and to provide for refugee resettlement.

The major features of the Main Plan included small dams on the Hasbani, Dan, and Banias, a medium-size (175 million m3 storage) dam at Maqarin, additional storage in the Sea of Galilee, and gravity-flow canals down both sides of the Jordan Valley. The Main Plan did not include the Litani River and described only in-basin use of the Jordan River water, although it conceded that "it is recognized that each of these countries may have different ideas about the specific areas within their boundaries to which these waters might be directed" (Main, 1953). Preliminary allocations gave Israel 394 million m3 (MCM) per year, Jordan 774 MCM/yr, and Syria 45 MCM/yr.

Both Israel and a united Arab League Technical Committee responded with their own counterproposals, and Johnston worked until the end of 1955 to reconcile these proposals in a Unified Plan amenable to each of the states involved. In the Unified Plan, Johnston accomplished no small degree of compromise. Although they had not met face to face for these negotiations, all states agreed on the need for a regional approach. Israel gave up on inclusion of the Litani and the Arabs agreed to allow an out-of-basin transfer. The Arabs objected, but finally agreed, to storage at both the Maqarin Dam and the Sea of Galilee, so long as neither side would have physical control over the share available to the other. Israel objected, but finally agreed, to international supervision of withdrawals and construction. Allocations under the Unified Plan, later known as the Johnston Plan, included 400 MCM/yr to Israel, 720 MCM/yr to Jordan, 132 MCM/yr to Syria, and 35 MCM/yr to Lebanon (US Department of State, unpublished summaries, 1955, 1956; see also Naff and Matson, 1984, p. 42).

The technical committees from both sides accepted the Unified Plan, but forward momentum died out in the political realm; the plan was never ratified. Nevertheless, Israel and Jordan have generally adhered to the Johnston allocations, and technical representatives from both countries continue to meet two or three times a year at "Picnic Table Talks" (named for the site at the confluence of the Yarmuk and Jordan Rivers where the meetings are held) to discuss flow rates and allocations (Wolf, 1995).

As each state developed its water resources unilaterally their plans began to overlap. By 1964, for instance, Israel had completed enough of the construction of its National Water Carrier that actual diversions from the Jordan River basin to the coastal plain and the Negev were imminent. Although Jordan was also about to begin extracting Yarmuk water for its East Ghor Canal, it was the Israeli diversion that prompted President Nasser to call for the First Arab Summit in January 1964 of the heads of state from the region and North Africa, specifically to discuss a joint strategy on water.

The options presented at the Summit were to complain to the United Nations, to divert the upper Jordan tributaries into Arab states (as had been discussed by Syria and Jordan since 1953), or to go to war (Schmida, 1983, p. 19). The decision to divert the rivers prevailed at a Second Summit in September 1964, when the Arab states agreed to finance a Headwater Diversion project in Lebanon and Syria and to help Jordan build a dam on the Yarmuk. They also made tentative military plans to defend the diversion project (Shemesh, 1988, p. 38).

In 1964 Israel began withdrawing 320 MCM/yr of Jordan water for its National Water Carrier and Jordan completed a major phase of its East Ghor Canal (Inbar and Maos, 1984, p. 21). In 1965, the Arab states began construction of their Headwater Diversion Plan to prevent the Jordan headwaters from reaching Israel. The plan was to divert the Hasbani into the Litani in Lebanon and to divert the Banias into the Yarmuk, where it would be impounded by a dam at Mukhaiba for Jordan and Syria. This plan would divert up to 125 MCM/yr, cut by 35 per cent the installed capacity of the Israeli Carrier, and increase the salinity in the Sea of Galilee by 60 parts per million (ppm) (US Central Intelligence Agency, 1962; Inbar and Maos,1984, p. 22; Naff and Matson, 1984, p. 43). The Israeli army attacked the diversion works in Syria in March, May, and August of 1965.

These events set off what has been called "a prolonged chain reaction of border violence that linked directly to the events that led to the [June 1967] war" (Safran cited in Cooley, 1984, p. 16). Border incidents continued between Israel and Syria, triggering air battles in July 1966 and April 1967 and, finally, all-out war in June 1967.

With the territorial gains and improvements in geostrategic positioning that Israel achieved in the June 1967 war, Israel also improved its "hydrostrategic" position (see fig. 10.1). With control of the Golan Heights, it now held all of the headwaters of the Jordan, with the exception of a section of the Hasbani, and an overlook over much of the Yarmuk. Together these made the Headwaters Diversion impossible. The West Bank now controlled by Israel not only provided riparian access to the entire length of the Jordan River but it overlay three major aquifers, two of which flow west and north-west into Israel and had been tapped into from Israel's side of the Green Line since 1955 (Garbell, 1965, p. 30). The third flows east to the Jordan Valley. Jordan had planned to transport 70-150 MCM/yr from the Yarmuk River to the West Bank; these plans were abandoned.

When Israel took control of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, the territory it captured included the recharge areas for the three aquifers. The entire renewable recharge of the first two aquifers is already being exploited and the recharge of the third is close to being depleted as well. In the years of Israeli occupation, a growing West Bank and Gaza population, along with burgeoning Jewish settlements, have increased the pressures on the limited groundwater supply, resulting in an exacerbation of already tense political relations. Palestinians have objected strenuously to Israeli control of local water resources and to the development of settlements that they see as being at their territorial and hydrological expense (see, for example, Davis et al., 1980; Dillman, 1989; Zarour and Isaac, 1993). Israeli authorities view hydrological control in the West Bank as defensive. With about 30 per cent of Israeli water originating on the West Bank, the Israelis perceive the necessity to limit groundwater exploitation in these territories in order to protect the resources themselves and their wells from salt-water intrusion (Gwen, 1991).

By 1991, several events combined to shift the emphasis on the potential for "hydro-conflict" in the Middle East to the potential for "hydro-cooperation." The first event was a natural one, but limited to the Jordan basin. Three years of below-average precipitation caused a dramatic tightening in the water management practices of each of the riparians, including rationing, cut-backs to agriculture by as much as 30 per cent, and the restructuring of water pricing and allocation. Although these steps placed short-term hardships on those affected, they also showed that, for years of normal rainfall, there was still some flexibility in the system. Most water decision makers agree that these steps, particularly regarding pricing practices and allocations to agriculture, were long overdue.

Fig. 10.1 The Jordan River: International borders, 1967 to the present, and water diversions (Source: Wolf, 1995)

The next series of events were geopolitical and region-wide. The Persian Gulf War in 1990 and the collapse of the Soviet Union caused a realignment of political alliances in the Middle East that finally made possible the first public face-to-face peace talks between Arabs and Israelis, in Madrid, Spain, on 30 October 1991. During the bilateral negotiations between Israel and each of its neighbours, it was agreed that a second track should be established for multilateral negotiations on five subjects deemed "regional," including water resources. Although the pace of the peace talks has been at times arduously slow,1 a venue does finally exist where grievances can be aired and the issue of water-sharing equity can be tackled. In itself, this may help prevent some of the pressures that have historically led to some of the most bitter water conflicts in the world.


Surface water

The Jordan River watershed drains an area of 18,300 km2 in four countries: Lebanon, Syria, Israel, and Jordan (Naff and Matson, 1984, p. 21).

Three springs make up the northern headwaters of the Jordan River: the Hasbani, rising in Lebanon with an average annual flow of 125 MCM/yr, the Banias in Syria, averaging 125 MCM/yr, and the Dan, the largest spring at 250 MCM/yr and originating in Israel. The streams from these springs converge 6 km into Israel and flow south to the Sea of Galilee at 210 m below sea level.2

The Yarmuk River has sources in both Syria and Jordan and forms the border between those countries before it adds about 500 MCM/yr to the Jordan 10 km south of the Sea of Galilee. Beyond this confluence, the Jordan picks up volume from springflow and intermittent tributaries along its 320 km meander southward along the valley floor of the Syrio-African Rift. At its terminus at the Dead Sea (400 m below sea level), the Jordan River has a natural annual flow of 1,400 MCM/yr.

Because much of the Jordan's flow is below sealevel and the small springs that contribute to its flow pass first through the salty remains of ancient seas, the salinity of the water rises greatly, even as its flow increases. Although the headwaters at the Hasbani, Banias, and Dan have a salinity of 15-20 ppm, the level at the south end of the Sea of Galilee is 340 ppm. This is diluted somewhat by the Yarmuk, which has a salinity of 100 ppm, but increases significantly downstream, reaching several thousand parts per million by the Allenby Bridge near Jericho. The Dead Sea, a terminal lake, has a salinity of 250,000 ppm, seven times that of the open ocean.

The Jordan River flows through the transition zone from the Mediterranean subtropical climate of Lebanon and the Galilee region in the north to the arid conditions of the Negev Desert and the Rift Valley to the south. Rainfall patterns likewise vary spatially, with rainfall decreasing generally from north to south and from west to east.

These streamflow values are for average flows of the natural system. The actual amounts are highly variable and dependent on both seasonal fluctuations (75 per cent of precipitation falls during the four winter months) as well as inter-annual variations in rainfall (as high as 25-40 per cent) (Environmental Protection Service, 1988, p. 125). Also, the natural system has been dramatically altered by large-scale diversion projects, discussed later.


The hills along both banks of the Jordan serve as recharge areas for extensive aquifer systems in the West Bank, Israel, and Jordan. Rain that falls on these mountain ridges and that does not run off as surface water percolates down to the water table, contributing to these underground bodies of water. One measure of an aquifer's utility is its safe yield, or the amount of water that can be pumped without adverse effects on the water left in storage. This is usually considered to be equal to the annual recharge rate for the aquifer.

There are three principal aquifer systems west of the Jordan (Kahan, 1987, p. 21); see figure 10.2. The north-east basin recharges in the northern West Bank and discharges in Israel's Bet Shean and Jezreel Valleys; it has a safe yield of 140 MCM/yr. The western (Yarkon-Tanninim) basin also recharges in the hills of the West Bank but discharges westward, toward the Mediterranean coast in Israel; it has a safe yield of 320 MCM/yr. The eastern basin is made up of five separate catchment areas in the West Bank, all of which flow east toward the Jordan Valley; their combined safe yield is 225 MCM/yr.3

Fig. 10.2 West Bank groundwater: Average annual sustainable yields for the three principal aquifers west of the Jordan River (Source: Wolf, 1995)

Groundwater replenishment within Jordan totals about 270 MCM/yr, in 12 different aquifers, mostly in the Zarqa, Yarmak, and Jordan catchments (Bilbeisi, 1992).

Current water use

Israel has a renewable annual water supply of approximately 1,800 MCM/yr (Environmental Protection Service, 1988, p. 125), of which 60 per cent is groundwater and 40 per cent is surface water - almost entirely from the Jordan River system. Its annual water budget is allocated 73 per cent to agriculture, 22 per cent to domestic consumption, and 5 per cent to industrial use. Israel irrigates 66 per cent of its cropland. It has a population of 4.2 million and an annual population growth rate of 1.6 per cent (excluding immigration) (Poster, 1989a, p. 12).

The 800,000 Palestinians on the West Bank consume about 110 MCM/yr, 90 per cent of which is groundwater. Of this, about 90 MCM is for irrigation and the rest is for domestic use. The 70,000 Israeli settlers use an additional 36 MCM, 95 per cent of which is for agriculture (Kahan, 1987, p. 113). The Arab and Jewish residents of the West Bank irrigate 6 per cent of the cultivable land and have a population growth rate of approximately 3 per cent (Poster, 1989a, p. 14).

Gaza, with a population of about 600,000 and a growth rate of 3.4 per cent, is probably the entity that is most desperate hydrographically speaking. Completely dependent on the 60 MCM/yr of annual groundwater recharge, Gazans currently use approximately 95 MCM/yr. The difference between annual supply and use is made up by overpumping in the shallow coastal aquifer, resulting in dangerous salt-water intrusion of existing wells and ever-decreasing per capita water availability, already the lowest in the region.

Jordan has a total annual water budget of 870 MCM, of which 75 per cent is surface water, mostly from the Yarmuk River (Taubenblatt, 1988, p. 49). Of the total, 85 per cent is allocated for agriculture, 10 per cent for human consumption, and 5 per cent for industrial use. Jordan irrigates 10 per cent of its cropland and has a population of 3.3 million and a growth rate of 3.5 per cent per year (Poster, 1989a, p. 14).

Both Lebanon and Syria are relatively minor consumers of Jordan River water. Their major sources are the Litani and Euphrates rivers, respectively. The Litani, with an average flow of 700 MCM/yr, lies wholly within Lebanon but, because it flows to within 7 km of the Hasbani, it has been included in several diversion schemes in conjunction with the Jordan system. Lebanon irrigates 29 per cent of its cropland and has a population of 2.6 million and an annual population growth rate of 2.1 per cent. Syria irrigates 11 per cent of its cropland and has a population of 10 million growing at a rate of 3.8 per cent per year (Poster, 1989a, p. 14).

International water rights law

General principles

One problem at the heart of Middle East water conflicts is the fact that there is no internationally accepted definition of water-sharing equity. International water law is ambiguous and often contradictory, and no mechanism exists to enforce principles that are agreed upon.

According to Cano (1989), international water law did not begin to formulate substantially until after World War I. Since that time, organs of international law have tried to provide a framework for increasingly intensive water use. The concept of a "drainage basin," for example, was accepted by the International Law Association in the Helsinki Rules of 1966, which also provides guidelines for "reasonable and equitable" sharing of a common waterway (Caponera, 1985). Article IV of the Helsinki Rules describes the overriding principle.

Each basin State is entitled, within its territory, to a reasonable and equitable share in the beneficial uses of the waters of an international drainage basin.

Article V lists no fewer than 11 factors that must be taken into account in defining what is "reasonable and equitable."4 There is no hierarchy to these components of "reasonable use." Rather, they are to be considered as a whole. One important shift in legal thinking in the Helsinki Rules is that they address the right to "beneficial use" of water, rather than to water per se (Housen-Couriel, 1992, p. 5).

The International Law Commission, a body of the United Nations, was directed by the General Assembly in 1970 to study "Codification of the Law on Water Courses for Purposes Other Than Navigation." It is testimony to the difficulty of marrying legal and hydrologic intricacies that the International Law Commission, despite an additional call for codification at the UN Water Conference at Mar de Plata, Argentina, in 1977, has not yet completed its task. After 20 years and 9 reports, only several articles have been provisionally approved. And, once the details are worked through, the principles would not have the force of law until approved by the UN General Assembly (Solanes, 1987). Even then, cases are heard by the International Court of Justice only with the consent of the parties involved; no practical enforcement mechanism exists to back up the Court's findings, except in the most extreme cases. A state with pressing national interests can, therefore, disclaim entirely the Court's jurisdiction or findings (Caponera, 1985; Cano, 1989).

Treaties and river commissions

In contrast to the development and application of a general law code, treaties and river commissions have been established and perpetuated for water systems throughout the world. According to Rogers (1991) there are more than 200 river basins shared by two or more countries. This accounts for more than 50 per cent of the land area of the earth. More than 280 treaties have been negotiated to resolve these trans-boundary water conflicts. Treaties are brought about either directly between the parties involved, i.e. by negotiation, or with the help of a third party, i.e. by mediation. Once ratified, a treaty has the force of law and is the highest precedent recognized by the International Court of Justice (Cano, 1989).

Treaties and river commissions have reached a certain level of success, probably because they fill precisely the gaps left in generalized international water law. They address only local conditions and incorporate the vested interests of the specific parties in conflict. The initial process still requires a certain amount of good will on both sides or, barring that, particularly strong encouragement from a third party. The challenge is to get the parties together initially and, once there, to induce ongoing cooperation. This is a process best served by alternative dispute resolution strategies, as addressed in the following sections. But, as professor of law Robert Hayton concludes, "just as war is too important to be left to the generals, water law is too important to be left to the lawyers" (1982, p. 132).

The legal challenges of Jordan River hydropolitics

Shifting riparian positions

Given the difficulty of defining the rights of riparians in international law, one can imagine the compounded complications of applying such a code where the riparian positions, and resulting legal claims, continue to shift over time. Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan were all upper riparians between 1948 and 1967, and their corresponding legal claim, therefore, was mostly of "absolute sovereignty" of the Jordan River. This conflicted, during the Johnston negotiations (1953-1955), with the US desire for "optimum development" and with the Israeli claim to its "riparian rights." Because Jordan was somewhat restrained, being also a lower riparian further downstream, a compromise Arab claim was of rights to water allocation proportional to a territory's contribution to its source (Lowi, 1985).

From 1964 to 1967, Syria and Lebanon began building a diversion of the Jordan headwaters, again claiming "absolute sovereignty," to thwart a downstream Israeli diversion that threatened the Jordanian water supply. Jordan challenged the Israeli plan to move water out of-basin, arguing that it was entitled to the river's "absolute integrity" and that first priority should be given to in-basin uses (Naff and Matson, 1984). After 1967, Israel became the upper, and predominant, riparian and moved towards a claim of "absolute sovereignty," although remaining, for the most part, within the confines of the (unratified) Johnston allocations.

Complicating riparian positions even further has been the unresolved issue of groundwater. Israel currently receives about 30 per cent of its water budget from aquifers that recharge in the West Bank. Ownership and rights to this water are in conflict, with Israel claiming "prior appropriation," limiting Palestinian groundwater development in the West Bank. Palestinians have objected to this increasing control. Legal arguments often refer, at least in part, to the Fourth Geneva Convention's discussion of territories under military occupation (see, for example, Dillman, 1989; El-Hindi, 1990). In principle, it is argued, the resources of occupied territory cannot be exported to the benefit of the occupying power. Israeli authorities reject these arguments, usually claiming that the Convention is not applicable to the West Bank or Gaza because the powers these territories were wrested from were not, themselves, legitimate rulers. Egypt was itself a military occupier of Gaza and only Britain and Pakistan recognized Jordan's 1950 annexation of the West Bank. Also, it is pointed out that the water Israel uses is not being exported but rather flows naturally seaward, and, because Israel has been pumping that water since 1955, it has "prior appropriation" rights to the water. Both Israel and Jordan insist that any further allocation to the West Bank must come out of the other's share.

Recognition of state sovereignty

As mentioned previously, an international legal code is applicable only to states that adhere to a court's jurisdiction. This principle, however, runs into two types of problems in the Jordan watershed:

1. States. Arab state recognition of Israel's right to exist has come only recently. One reason given for the collapse of the Johnston negotiations was that ratification would have implied recognition of Israel's legitimacy (Wishart, 1990). Israel, in turn, has not, until recently, recognized the national aspiration of Palestinians, who, in the absence of sovereign territory, have been relegated to observer status in most international forums.

2. Jurisdiction. As mentioned above, Palestinians have claimed that much of Israeli action on the West Bank, including control of water resources, violates the Geneva Convention protecting civilians under military occupation (Ataov, 1981). Israel rejects the applicability of the Convention to these territories, claiming that, since Jordanian annexation of the West Bank in 1950 was not widely recognized in the international community, the Israeli presence is, thus, not legally "occupation."

Thus, submission of the dispute over the Jordan River to the international legal system would strain existing interpretation and enforcement well past their current limits.

Cooperative watershed development

Principles for confidence-building

Given the vital need for a regional water development plan that incorporates the political realities of the region and given the limitations imposed by economics and hydrologic conditions, steps that might be taken are described below.

A recently developed sub-field of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) called "dispute systems design" focuses on a process for integrating the potential for ADR into public institutions and other organizations that deal with conflict. Dispute systems design as described by Ury et al. (1988) may offer lessons about enhancing cooperation in water systems as well. Although most of the work in this field describes the incorporation of cooperation-inducement into organizations, some of the same lessons for "enhancing cooperation capacity" (Kolb and Silbey, 1990, p. 300) or "design considerations" (O'Connor, 1992, p. 87) and "design guidelines" (McKinney, 1992, p. 160) might be applicable to technical or policy-making systems as well. For example, a water-sharing agreement, or even a regional water development project, might also be designed from the beginning specifically to induce ever-increasing cooperation as the project incorporates ever-increasing integration.

The preceding survey of history suggests that cooperation-inducing strategies might also be incorporated into the process of implementation. This section offers examples of "cooperation-inducing implementation." General guidelines include the following:

1. "Dis-integrating" the control of water resources to address past and present grievances. Many plans for water development in the Jordan River watershed incorporate the premise that the increased integration of institutions or water projects is an impetus to greater political stability.5 Although the advisability of striving towards ever-increasing integration is recognized, as is the fact that "lasting peace among nations is characterized by a broadly based network of relations" (Ben-Shahar, 1989, p. 1), it is nevertheless suggested that, for resource conflicts in general and for water conflicts in particular, it should first be ensured that each entity has adequate control of an equitable portion of its primary resource. Thus, past and present grievances need to be addressed, before embarking on projects of cooperation or integration.

Because much of the past conflict over water has concerned ambiguous water rights, any attempt at developing cooperative projects that precedes the clarification of these rights would be building on years of accumulated ill will. The clear establishment of property rights is also a prerequisite for any market solutions that might be applied, such as water banks or markets. Furthermore, as mentioned previously, the political viability of international planning or projects depends on each entity agreeing on the equity of the project (e.g. who gets how much) and on control of the resource (who exercises control, and from where). Necessary steps include:

- negotiating property rights to existing resources,
- guaranteeing control of a water source adequate to meet future needs, and
- addressing the issue of equity within the design of any cooperative project.

Since these steps involve a separation of control over resources as a precondition to "integration," this process might be referred to as "dis-integration. "

2. Examining the details of initial positions for options to induce cooperation. Each of the parties to negotiations usually has its own interests foremost in mind. The initial claims, or "starting points" in the language of alternative dispute resolution, often seek to maximize those interests. By closely examining the assumptions and beliefs behind the starting points, one might be able to glean clues about how to induce some movement within the "bargaining mix," or range within which bargaining can take place, for each party. These underlying assumptions (and beliefs) may also provide indications for the creative solutions necessary to move from distributive (e.g. "win-lose") bargaining over the amount of water each entity should receive to integrative (e.g. "win-win") bargaining, i.e. inventing options for mutual gain.

3. Designing a plan or project, starting with small-scale implicit cooperation and building towards ever-increasing integration, always "leading" political relations. Building on the first two steps, riparians of a watershed who have clear water rights and control of enough water for their immediate needs might begin to work slowly toward increasing their cooperation on projects or planning. It has been shown that even hostile riparians can cooperate if the scale is small and the cooperation is secret. Building on that small-scale cooperation, and keeping the concerns about equity and control firmly in mind, projects might be developed to increase integration within the watershed, and over time even between watersheds.

In addition to these three principles, a viable agreement should also incorporate mechanisms to cope with future misunderstandings that will need to be resolved. The circumstances that bring about a conflict are seldom static; neither are the conditions that bring about agreement. This is particularly true for hydrological conflicts, where supply, demand, and understanding of existing conditions change from season to season and from year to year. Finally, crisis management for droughts, floods, and technical failures (e.g. dam or sewage facility) must also be addressed.

The design of a plan or project can incorporate a feedback loop to allow for greater cooperation as political relations develop, encouraging the project to remain always on the cutting edge of political relations. A process for ongoing conflict resolution would also help to relieve tensions that might arise because of fluctuations in the natural system. This process of "cooperation-inducing-design" can be applied to water rights negotiations, to watershed planning, or to the development of cooperative projects for watershed development.

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