Regional water cooperation in the Arab – Israeli Conflict: A case study of the West Bank

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de Boer, Lutine Frijda
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University of Malta; DiploFoundation
The conflict between Israel and Arab countries, with several devastating wars, is about territory and land, and maybe just as crucially on the water that flows through that land. This dissertation, an analysis of the management of water in the West Bank, as a case study, seeks to underline the possibility of using soft power diplomacy, in addition to mediation and water cooperation, for a more collaborative kind of approach to the conflict. The key argument of this dissertation is that a review of the management of the water dispute component in the Arab – Israeli conflict, in particular in the West Bank, points to the possibility of engaging in soft power diplomacy, mediation, and (better structured) water cooperation, in a more cooperative kind of water conflict management. In its methodology, this study proposes the use of the Barrier Analysis, as it performs a short examination of possible stumbling blocks towards effective water cooperation in the West Bank. Next to the Barrier Analysis, the Transboundary Opportunity Analysis (TWO), in combination with the Strategic Environmental Assessment, provides participants with objective instruments to identify opportunities for development. A Strategic Environmental Assessment, preferably performed by a third, neutral, party, would provide Israel and Palestine with objective knowledge of the physiological opportunities of the Mountain Aquifer, making a positive-sum solution for parties very much possible.