Dividing the Common Palestinian-Israeli Waters: An International Water Law Approach
The present article is primarily concerned with the redistribution of the common Palestinian-Israeli water sources, a core issue of the water conflict between the two sides. More specifically, I wish to explore how redistribution can be worked out on the basis of "factors" stipulated in the doctrine of "equitable apportionment" of international water law. I argue that those factors favor Palestinians and certainly entitle them to a much larger share than the authorities permit them to tap at present; nonetheless, exact shares can- not be determined except on the basis of agreed data as well as more rigorous calculations than those attempted here. I also argue that redistribution is possible without causing "appreciable harm" to Israel, and that, within the context of a peaceful political settlement, it is not a zero-sum game.
Sharif S. Elmusa has been an advisor to the Palestinian delegation to the multilateral negotiations on water, and is currently conducting a study on the Israeli-Palestinian water conflict with a grant from the Friends of the Institute for Palestine Studies funded by the Ford Foundation. This article is drawn from his presentation at the IPS panel discussion "Arab-Israeli Peace Settlement: Interim and Final Status Issues" at the 1992 MESA conference, Portland, OR, 28-31 October.