Supplementary memorandum submitted by
Take-A-Pen for Israel
ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CO-OPERATION IN DEVELOPING
THE PALESTINIAN WATER SYSTEM
Since the Oslo Agreement there has been mostly
very good co-operation between the professional Palestinian and
Israeli sides in water, sewage and agriculture related subjects.
Activities were rather well coordinated by a joint Israeli-Palestinian
action committee, led by the Water Commissioner of Israel and
the Head of the Palestinian Water Authority, as his deputy.
During Israeli administration in Judea and Samaria,
alias West Bank, since 1967 the water supply system has dramatically
improved there, for example running water in 1999 reached more
than 95% of the rural population versus around 20% in 1967. This
may be considered as the duty of Israel, as an occupying power,
but the fact is that the duty has been properly done.
But in the last two years the committee, unfortunately,
ceased to meet physically, formally as if because of dangers of
the renewed violence, actually, seemingly, also because of PA
While the co-operation between water officials
of the two sides was mostly acceptable, the same between Israeli
and Palestinian water professionals has always been, and
remained, very good. Israel and its professional water institutions,
like the Grand Water Research Institute (GWRI), headed by Professor
Raphael Semiat (earlier by Professor Uri Shamir), shared most
willingly Israel's pioneering knowledge and actual experience
in water administration and successful agriculture in arid and
semi-arid areas, recognized world-wide, with the Palestinians
and Jordanians. There have been many joint research and actual
projects, the attached (Attachment A) batch of fifteen papers,
reports and abstracts on good co-operation and joint projects
may be impressive, though only a very few illustrations out of
The titles of these papers, reports and abstracts,
attached (Not printed. Copies placed in the Library), are:
1/ 12512Water Sources and Quality along the
Lower Jordan River, a Regional Study.
2/ 17254Treatment and Reuse of Wastewater
in Rural Communities.
3/ PalestinianJordanianIsraeli Project
on Wastewater Treatment and Reuse.
4/ PJIP Joint ProjectSection 2. Groundwater
quality and pollution.
5/ 17624Wastewater Treatment and Reuse for
Environment Protection and Enhancement of Agricultural Production
(incl. Socio-Cultural Study), Oct. 2000March 2001.
6/ 17256Wastewater Treatment and Reuse in
Agricultural Production, July 2002.
7/ 9298Use of Marginal Water for Agricultural
Production in Jordan.
8/ 9297Wastewater Treatment and Recycling:
From Raw Sewage to Valuable Effluent and Energy Resources.
9/ 9296Wastewater Treatment and Recycling:
From Raw Sewage to Valuable Effluent and Energy Resources.
10/ Use of Marginal Water in Agricultural Production
11/ Use of Brackish and Saline Water on Cherry Tomatoes.
12/ Temporal and Spatial Variation of Wastewater
Quality in Nablus Western Wastewater Open Channel.
13/ Cooperation for the Solution of Problems Related
to Wastewater Treatment and Reuse in Agriculture.
14/ Implementation of Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR)
Treatment Technology in Palestine.
15/ Wastewater Treatment and Recycling: From Raw
Sewage to Valuable Effluent and Energy ResourcesProgress
General content of the documents on co-operation
These documents witness very good Palestinian-Israeli
or Palestinian-Israeli-Jordanian co-operation on diverse water
and agricultural subjects. These are papers and applied research
authored by Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian researchers, separately
or together, and reports on actual joint projects, all contributed
to this submission by Professor Raphael Semiat, Director of the
Grand Water Research Institute (GWRI Technion, Israel's oldest
university of technologies) out of a wide range of joint Palestinian,
Jordanian and Israeli research and actual projects, his institute
has been leading or participated in, in the last decade.
The Select Committee can follow in these documents
the numerous manifestations of good co-operation, absolutely open
sharing of know-how, in the text, in the names of the researchers
or in the geography of the joint projects, in places we partly
emphasized by italics, for the convenience of this Inquiry
Only one of the attached documents is not one
on good co-operation but on a conflict in the field of Palestinian
The Select Committee and experts can see the
merits of different joint I-P and also I-P-J joint projects in
these papers, and far beyond them through the GWRI Water Research
Behind each of these documents there is complex
and basically successful cooperation.
One example for the projects shared and described
in papers 3 and 4 is the Palestinian-Jordanian-Israeli wastewater
Treatment Project (PJIP). Another one(11) was to find the most
effective use of treated marginal water for growing cherry tomatoes,
a complex water treatment and agricultural research project of
Israel, the involvement of Palestinian researchers in which led
actually to a typical transfer of Israeli know-how, worth tens
of million dollars, as a goodwill gesture to the Palestinians.
One may wonder whether there are many such one-sided transfers
of know-how in the world today, to one's competitors tomorrow.
But unfortunately co-operation did go on always
undisturbed and reports to the media and public were many times
much worse than reality.
In a region of inherent water shortage there
are real conflicts of interests to be solved with much work and
mutual good-will. But sometimes, instead, certain Palestinian
forces, within and without the PA, acted as if interested to create
or preserve conflict. Hostile to the idea of co-operation they
tried sometimes to "poison wells", both in the actual
and in the human sense.
Many feel that these elements deliberately hampered
solutions to problems, like the on-going pollution of Israel's
ground-water from PA-controlled mountain areas by untreated sewage
entering groundwater. This suspicion sustains when, surprisingly,
several suggestions for proper water treatment plants and systems,
with sponsors available with full financing for these projects,
were not approved by the PA.
Part of the reports blaming Israel and the "settlers"
for all the water problems of Palestinians are also suspicious
of having ill intentions. Expertise behind such reports has never
matched that of the well co-operating experts of the two sides;
though in cases theirs might have been enough to mislead good
intentioned but laymen real human rights activists, or to supply
false evidences for self-appointed and not-real human rights activists.
In case of contradictions between different
reports on the Palestinian-Israeli water co-operation or the lack
of it one can safely suggest to believe always more to well co-operating
experts than to self-righteous and critical half-laymen. Though,
unfortunately, expert criticism has to be checked too; it may
happen that the same Palestinian expert who expresses thanks to
Israeli colleagues for the outstanding support they have received
is cited later as blaming Israel, in an environment which knows
still more intimidations than real free speech.
But let's turn again to the mostly good co-operation
in the past and discuss how it can grow to even better.
THE UK AID
Full solution for the water problem is not easy
in a region where serious water shortage is inherent. Even the
limit what is technically possible, can be fully reached only
parallel to a political solution.
But until then there are ample possibilities
of beneficial projects in the field of water and sewage systems.
Donors of aid can select water or sewage projects from existing
lists of projects like the completion of running water supply
to the remaining 5% of all Arab villages in need in Judea and
Samaria, or West Bank, or initiate new projects, and be involved
in the planning and management of such projects from conceptual
design and cost estimates and extending budget through engineering
and construction until in-service-taking.
Many of these large new projects are huge, with
regional consequences and far-reaching socio-economic and cultural
effects on the population and therefore are almost pre-destined
for co-operation between the Palestinian and Israeli (and sometimes
also the Jordanian) parties.
For such projects it seems a most viable solution
to work in multinational co-operation, the UK being the initiator
and donor inspecting the progress, Israel mostly providing technological
know-how and securing support of its relevant institutions, while
the Palestinian Authority manages and executes most of the project.
As an example we can take a possible future
project, for the comprehensive solution of the today open sewage
canal West of Samaria's largest city, Nablus, mentioned in the
research paper 12 in Attachment A.
A new Nablus Western Wastewater Open Channel
Replacement Project should provide several results. First, it
should eliminate the severe hygienic and environmental harms to
the Palestinian population, second, to provide treated marginal
waters for Palestinian agricultural needs and finally, to contribute
to the improvement of ground-water quality in regional sense.
Palestinian-Israeli co-operation in the water
field, particularly when considering the huge objective difficulties
and the detrimental impacts of the violence, has been basically
very good, as illustrated by 15 sophisticated and valuable joint
research and applied projects out of the existing many more. This
is promising for the future, so more ambitious co-operations in
the water field can be sought.
The advantages for any future political solutions
of giving UK aid partly in the form of joint multilateral UK-Palestinian-Israeli
schemes as described above are clear and manifold. First, the
resulted improvement in the living conditions of Palestinian population
by the joint project would promote their readiness for peace or
at least for acceptance of co-existence. Secondly, such a down-to-earth
joint project would very much strengthen practical co-operation
and mutual trust being so essential for political solutions to
come. Third, Israel's suspicion of deliberate Palestinian sewage
handling malpractices (one described in the sole negative research
paper attached) could slowly fade away, and with good and measurable
And last but not least the active presence of
the UK's, as benevolent donor's, representatives would contribute
to good progress and better understanding, secure authentic information
for the public and the world instead of leaning on self-righteous
propaganda, and thus to soothing the water conflict and the conflict
as a whole.
Attachments and Appendices submitted with
this memorandum have not been printed, but have been placed in
the House of Commons Library.