This article investigates local hydropolitical constellations in the West Bank through two case studies of individual villages. After examining the position of the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA), it identifies two concurrent dynamics in water politics in the West Bank: a centripetal dynamic drawing power to the PWA and the would-be Palestinian state, and a centrifugal dynamic dispersing water power among various village organizations and the Israeli authorities. The result is a dangerous situation whereby the Palestinian Authority is acquiring power even while it is not extending its control over local institutions.
Julie Trottier, a Ph.D. candidate in political science and international relations at the Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium, has been doing research in the West Bank for the last several years. Her dissertation, "Water Politics in the West Bank and Gaza Strip", is due to be published in December 1999 by PASSIA in Jerusalem.