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Addressing the Myth of Israeli Water Hegemony

Mark Zeitoun's 'Power and Water in the Middle East: The Hidden Politics of the Palestinian-Israeli Water Conflict'

Book review by Dr. Alon Tal.

Of the five controversies that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators left to be considered in the final status talks, the one revolving around water is, presumably, the most readily resolved. While the right of return and the status of Jerusalem are not given to speedy resolution, the water issue can be resolved by technological fixes, pragmatism, ever-improving science and better management — all of which would lead to reasonable compromises and progress on the water issue. Most Israelis and supporters of Israel agree that the present hydrological conditions faced by the Palestinians are untenable and unsustainable. It is unfortunate, therefore, that Mark Zeitoun has chosen to write an extensively researched tome that is really a polemic that does little to break the present deadlock or help the Palestinian cause he so eloquently advocates. The theoretical basis on which Power and Water in the Middle East rests is too rigid to capture the complex and dynamic regional reality that drives water allocations and policy, and the book often lapses into outdated facts and adversarial rhetoric.

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