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Israel’s Water Wars

by : Jason Godesky
Saturday August 19, 2006 - 01:30

Israel’s Water Wars Tuesday, August 15th, 2006 by Jason Godesky The stated rationale for Israel’s invasion of Lebanon was nonsense. Ostensibly, Israel invaded Lebanon because Hizb’allah captured two IDF soldiers that violated the Lebanese border.1 Later reports in Western media were changed so that Hizb’allah was entering Israel in an unprovoked attack; this is the generally understood scenario in the West, though it conflicts with the original reports and Lebanese police. Hizb’allah asked for a prisoner exchange-like the exchanges Israel has engaged in before2-but instead, Israel’s Kadima PM Ehud Olmert promised a "very painful and far-reaching response." Israel’s army chief of staff, General Dan Halutz, said the war would "turn back the clock in Lebanon by 20 years."

Gerald Steinberg, a professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University, said, "Of all of Israel’s wars since 1948, this was the one for which Israel was most prepared. In a sense, the preparation began in May 2000, immediately after the Israeli withdrawal, when it became clear the international community was not going to prevent Hezbollah from stockpiling missiles and attacking Israel. By 2004, the military campaign scheduled to last about three weeks that we’re seeing now had already been blocked out and, in the last year or two, it’s been simulated and rehearsed across the board."3 Western commentators have tried to turn the issue into one of Israel’s self-defence from Hizb’allah, but prior to 12 July 2006, Hizb’allah rockets had killed a total of 6 Israeli civilians since 20004-including one struck by a falling anti-aircraft round fired at an Israeli jet violating Lebanese air space, while another "civilian" was in fact an IDF officer.5 By comparison, at least four Lebanese civilians were killed by IDF or SLA fighters just during the withdrawal from southern Lebanon, 22-23 May 2000.6 In 34 days of fighting, Hizb’allah killed 108 IDF soldiers and wounded 9, while some 4,000 Katyusha rocket attacks killed 41 Israeli civilians. In the same timespan, the IDF has claimed over 400 Hizb’allah fighters dead, and 1,130 Lebanese civilians killed, 3,600 wounded, and a million displaced.7

As Juan Cole points out, the argument that this is a matter of self-defense simply does not make sense:

The wholesale destruction of all of Lebanon by Israel and the US Pentagon does not make any sense. Why bomb roads, bridges, ports, fuel depots in Sunni and Christian areas that have nothing to do with Shiite Hizbullah in the deep south? And, why was Hizbullah’s rocket capability so crucial that it provoked Israel to this orgy of destruction? Most of the rockets were small katyushas with limited range and were highly inaccurate. They were an annoyance in the Occupied Golan Heights, especially the Lebanese-owned Shebaa Farms area. Hizbullah had killed 6 Israeli civilians since 2000. For this you would destroy a whole country?

It doesn’t make any sense.

Moreover, the Lebanese government elected last year was pro-American! Why risk causing it to fall by hitting the whole country so hard?8

David Aaron and Paul Miller from RAND have suggested an alternative rationale for Israel’s intense overreaction.

Israel has accepted the existence of a Palestinian state, and is committed to exiting the occupied territories for the most basic reason - demographics. Polls show Israelis realize they cannot protect their security by occupying a population with a non-Jewish majority. Israelis would prefer a negotiated path to peace, but it takes two sides to make peace. Unfortunately, there is no prospect of meaningful talks for a comprehensive agreement between Israel and a Hamas government that refuses to renounce terrorism and recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Lacking a negotiating partner, Israel has for some time regarded unilateral withdrawal from the Palestinian territories as the only way forward. But for Israel to proceed with plans to withdraw from the West Bank, it is convinced the "withdrawal equals weakness" mindset must be changed. Hence its decision to carry out powerful retaliation for Hamas and Hezbollah attacks to demonstrate both its capability, and more importantly its resolve, to strike back at its attackers.9

Contrary to this, the new Hamas government actually was working towards a plan that would recognize Israel.10, 11, 12, 13 The logic RAND applies here might work if we were still dealing with Yassir Arafat’s PLO, but times have changed. Hamas has been elected, and is now seeking to consolidate legitimate power. The idea that Arabs only understand force, and that a good war is necessary to show that Israel isn’t weak, isn’t just virulently racist garbage,14 it’s also intensely blind to the history of the conflict. This has been a common response of Israel’s Right wing for decades now, but all it’s proven so far is that Israel’s belligerence succeeds only in creating more hostilities.

A true friend of Israel (never mind the Arabs) would not rush its ally an emergency shipment of precision-guided bombs that it knew would kill more Lebanese civilians. Instead, a true friend would have had the courage to say, "Stop." And then this friend would start asking hard questions about the meaning of long-term security.

Among the questions for Israel: Doesn’t this all seem too familiar? Don’t you remember 1968, when your forces tried to root out insurgents in the West Bank town of Karama, only to strengthen their leader, Yasser Arafat? Don’t you recall 1988, when, trying to weaken Mr. Arafat, you encouraged the growth of Hamas in Gaza? Have you forgotten that Hizbullah grew from the dust of your own bombs during your invasion of Lebanon, a generation ago? Are you so trapped by the wounds of your own terrible history as to repeat these mistakes over and over? Has "never again," tragically, become "again and again?"

Why have you never found the safe harbor you sought for your people? Is it only because you live in a sea of Arab enemies? Or could your own hard response - 10 eyes for an eye, 10 teeth for a tooth - have something to do with it? When will you learn that long-term security cannot come from creating infinitely more enemies? How long will you keep repeating history?15

Already, we are seeing the obvious, predictable effects of Israel’s all-out war in response to two kidnapped soldiers. Hizb’allah is becoming stronger than ever16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and Israel has created a crisis for all the countries of the Arab world. Breaking from their usual pattern of blaming Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt blamed Hizb’allah, accusing it of "recklessness and adventurism."21 They must have also seen what an escalating crisis would mean for them.

A Hezbollah success against the hated Israelis will give governments throughout the Islamic world a stark choice. They can either snuggle up as close to Hezbollah and other Islamic 4GW entities as they can get, hoping to catch some reflected legitimacy, or they can become Vichy to their own peoples. Since the first rule of politics is to survive, I think we can look forward to a great deal of the former.22

Since Israel’s stated objective is Hizb’allah’s destruction, the criteria for Hizb’allah victory is simple: survival. John Robb has pointed out why Israel’s strategy cannot possibly achieve the stated goal.

First, the goal of coercion must be within the capabilities of the target state (it’s not in this case). Second, coercion like this is only useful if the objective is to get a state to give up a policy (the more ancillary it is to the state’s existence the better) than to get them to act proactively-particularly since large scale systems disruption rips down states. Lebanon is getting weaker by the day and Hezbollah is now existential to the state. Third, if the state doesn’t officially relent and the state fails, global guerrillas can still achieve a de facto victory. This doesn’t work for Israel. The failure of Lebanon only makes things worse.23 The current, tentative cease fire is a clear victory for Hizb’allah. Israel has been forced to deal with Hizb’allah as a peer in negotiations, and Hizb’allah has achieved what no Arab country has ever succeeded in doing before: fighting the IDF to a draw. After not only the carnage of war, but permission from at least one IDF general for soldiers to pillage for their food,24 Israel has sown enough resentment in this war to help Hizb’allah grow for some time to come. Meanwhile, others have noticed Hizb’allah’s "strategic, historic victory," as Hizb’allah’s leader Nasrallah called it.25 In an interview with Al Jazeera, Kuwaiti actor Daoud Hussein said, "If there was just one Nasrallah in every Arab country-one person with his dedication, intelligence, courage, strength and commitment-Arabs would not have had to suffer stolen land and defeat at the hands of Israel for 50 years."26 There have been strong calls for Olmert to give up the prime minister’s office,27 amidst catastrophic losses in opinion polls, while the Likud party has taken advantage of the opportunity to castigate the wayward Kadima party.28 In the days leading up to the cease fire taking effect, the IDF made an enormous push north to the Litani River,29, 30 ostensibly to "encircle" Hizb’allah in the south, and seize as much territory before the cease fire as would be necessary to root out the "jihadis." With the cease fire, further land gains may be unlikely, but the IDF may not remove its forces for some time yet.31

Before 12 July 2006, Hamas was working with Fatah on a plan to recognize Israel, Lebanon was reuinified by the Cedar Revolution for the first time since the 1970s, and working on establishing its power in the south to replace Hizb’allah. In the month since then, Israel has created a situation where Lebanon will almost certainly not survive as a unified country, Hizb’allah has become far more powerful, Hamas will not be able to make any kind of diplomatic overture to Israel for years to come without alienating the Palestinian people provoked by another bout of violence, and all the countries of the Middle East are compelled to support Hizb’allah as much as possible-even those countries which would much rather see the group utterly destroyed.

So, should we conclude that Israel is blind or stupid, or should we instead entertain the possibility that if Israel’s actions are at complete and utter odds with its stated motivation, it may have an altogether different motivation?

* * *

Then-General (later defense minister under Menachem Begin, and later still prime minister) Ariel Sharon once said, "People generally regard 5 June 1967 as the day the Six-day war began. That is the official date. But, in reality, it started two- and-a-half years earlier, on the day Israel decided to act against the diversion of the Jordan." The 1967 "Six Days War" might be considered the first "water war." Israel is an intensely complex, First World country, surrounded by Third World countries, in the middle of an ecosystem entirely unsuited to supporting such a thing. The war captured the West Bank and the Gaza strip for Israel-territories that continue to be problematic. What justified the political, military, and diplomatic costs of the occupation was the precious water it afforded.

Resource Replenishable quantities From "Israel’s Chronic Water Problem" Lake Kinneret 700 MCM/year The Mountain Aquifer 370 MCM/year The Coastal Aquifer 320 MCM/year All other sources 410 MCM/year Total average 1,800 MCM/year Israel’s ecology varies from semi-arid to complete desert, yet it has intense water needs. These are fulfilled primarily by three sources. Lake Kinneret (a.k.a., the Sea of Galilee) provides over a third of Israel’s water. Another third comes from two aquifers-large, geographical areas of subterranean catchment where water accumulates. These aquifers lie beneath the Gaza strip and the West Bank: precisely the territories Israel seized in the 1969 war.

Under international law, the West Bank and Gaza are occupied territories, and the Geneva Conventions-which govern the appropriate use of occupied territories-forbid moving people into an occupied territory. That’s precisely what Israel’s settlement program did. Israel then proceeded to siphon the water of the West Bank away from its native Palestinian population, to the new settler population.

At present, Israelis receive five times as much water per person as Palestinians. In Gaza, the disparity is even more striking, with settlers getting seven times as much water as their Palestinian neighbors. Stated differently, on average, Israelis get 92.5 gallons per person per day, while Palestinians in the West Bank get 18.5 gallons per person per day. The minimum quantity of water recommended by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the World Health Organization for household and urban use alone is 26.4 gallons per person per day. ...

Israel did hook some Palestinian towns into the water network-although nearly 30 percent of Palestinian homes have yet to be connected-but it did not provide appropriate maintenance work, with the result that, today, as much as half of the water meant to supply some Palestinian towns may be lost to leaking pipes, according to B’Tselem. The country also gave Israelis and settlers priority access to water: In the summer, when water is scare, the Israeli water company Mekorot shuts the valves of the main pipelines supplying Palestinian towns so that Israeli supplies remain unaffected.32

Religion, historically, has often been an excuse for violence, but never a prime motivator.33 The same holds true here: while most analysis of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has focused on their religious differences, the fact remains that this is a shallow veneer covering a much deeper conflict for a much more basic resource: water.

Relative to income level, Palestinians pay 15 times more for water than Israeli settlers; 100,000 Israeli settlers recieve as much water as one million Palestinians in the same area. Abdel Rahman Tamimi, a ground water expert with the Palestine Hydrology Group, said, "All Israeli settlements have water, lawns and swimming pools, while dozens of Palestinian villages are with inadequate water supplies and suffer from water shortage."34 Palestinians pay a standard rate of $1.20 for piped water, while for settlers, it is $0.40.35

In 2005, Ariel Sharon forcibly removed 7,000 settlers from the Gaza strip, amidst great controversy domestically. The move forced him to break away from the Likud party he’d helped found with Menachem Begin to form the new, centrst Kadima party. Controlling the West Bank cost Israel $3 billion per year in military expenditures, but gave Israel control of the aquifers beneath it. A criticism of Sharon’s plan in the New York Jewish Times cited precisely the importance of the West Bank’s water:

During a debate at Tel Aviv University’s Diplomatic Forum, when challenged on how, after disengagement from Northern Samaria (which overlies hydrologically crucial areas of the Mountain Aquifer), Israel will be able to continue to manage and preserve its national water system, Dov Weisglass - Prime Minister Sharon’s crony and mouthpiece - admitted with some embarassment that he did not really undertand much about water problems and added flippantly, to the astonishment of the audience (which included many foreign embassy staff), "maybe we’ll have to import bottles of water."36

Though Sharon’s "crony" may not have been briefed, it’s obvious that Sharon was. This is the same Ariel Sharon who, as a general fighting it, admitted publicly that the 1967 war was fought to obtain water. Sharon withdrew Israeli settlers from Gaza-but only because it had ceased to provide the water it once had. The "level of salting and other pollutants has reduced the quality in numerous sites to below that permissible for drinking water."37 Once Israel had used up the resource and it was no longer potable, Sharon gave up the cost of defending the region and generously returned it to the Palestinians.

Because of saltwater intrusion from the sea into the aquifer, and recirculation and evaporation losses of pumped groundwater, the quality of the water is deteriorating faster than fresh rainwater can desalinate it. This means that Gaza residents must acquire water from beyond their borders, which are closed at present; build a large desalination plant; or eliminate agriculture within the next two decades, said the two researchers, Assistant Professor Charles Harvey and Dr. Annette Huber-Lee of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

"We’re not talking about a hundred years into the future," said Dr. Huber-Lee, lead author of the study. "I can show numbers that say it’s a problem very soon. It’s reaching a point where you have to decide what you are willing to impose upon people, and without additional sources of water, you finally have to eliminate agriculture."

Agriculture is about 30 percent of Gaza’s gross domestic product. While this percentage hasn’t decreased in the past 20 years, the increasing salinity has affected the types of food grown, eliminating most citrus fruit-which is sensitive to saline-in favor of salt-tolerant vegetables and flowers.38

With the collapse of the Coastal Aquifer from Israel’s overuse, and signs that the same process may now be happening (though more slowly) at Lake Kinneret, the importance of the Mountain Aquifer is only intensified, but that lies beneath the West Bank, and remains a major flashpoint of tensions. After the 1967 war, Israel siezed 80-85% of the West Bank’s water resources. More recently, the "security barrier" has been used as a means of claiming more water for Israel.

The barrier does not run along the old 1967 border or the 1949 armistice line between Israel and the Arab states, which, in the eyes of the United Nations, delineates Israel and the West Bank. It will contain at least 50% of the West Bank, including the whole of the western mountain aquifer, which supplies the West Bank Palestinians with over half their water.39

The barrier has already cut off many Palestinians from their traditional water sources,40 and an article in Ha’aretz estimated that the bizarre loops and zig-zags of the barrier, adhering to no previous delineation, would place some 95% of the Mountain Aquifer on the Israeli side.41

Even so, Israel is fighting a losing battle to supply its voracious need for water. A highly complex society in a semi-arid/desert ecosystem is always going to have a chronic water problem, but Israel’s voracious consumption and lack of environmental responsibility has turned that problem into a crisis. Conservation policies have had an effect, but they are limited. Desalination plants are used, but they are expensive. To continue its growth, Israel needs new sources of water. This is a question of life or death for Israel: either it will take new sources of water, by any means necessary, or it will fail to meet its needs for continual growth, and die. But water is a zero-sum game: for Israel to have more, others must have less. Water is no less necessary for Israel’s neighbors than it is for Israel itself, so it is unlikely that this situation could ever end peacefully.

After the 1967 war-the war Ariel Sharon said had been waged to conquer the water sources Israel needed-Moshe Dayan commented that the new conquests gave Israel "provisionally satisfying frontiers, with the exception of those with Lebanon."

* * *

The Litani River is the primary source of water for southern Lebanon. It starts west of Baalbek, in the Biqa’a valley. The average annual flow of the river is estimated at 920 MCM, with 480 MCM measured at the Khardali Bridge, where it makes an almost 90 degree bend to flow west into the Mediterranean.

Permanent occupation of southern Lebanon and continued access to the Litani could augment the annual water supply of Israel by up to 800 million cubic meters, or approximately 40 percent of its current annual water consumption. ...

Another attraction of the Litani River is the high quality of its water. The salinity level is only 20 parts per million, whereas that of the Sea of Galilee is 250 to 350 parts per million. Many aquifers in Israel are stressed, especially along the coast, and the water in them is increasingly brackish. The water of the Litani would lower the saline level of the Sea of Galilee, from which the National Water Carrier channels water to much of the country. "It is this purity that makes the Litani very attractive to the Israelis, who have developed their National Water Carrier System with a view towards potable (as opposed to irrigation quality) water."42

Not only could the Litani provide the volume of water Israel so desperately needs, but it’s a clean source of water, with very low salinity. It could help repair the water sources that Israel’s overuse has turned salty and brackish. This has been understood by Israel for a very long time, and we can see the Litani River cropping up in Israeli history on a regular basis.

Even before Israel was a state, an engineer in 1905 proposed diverting water from the Litani at its westward bend, to the Hasbani River, a tributary of the Jordan, because "the waters of the Jordan basin would be insufficient for the future needs of Palestine."

Prestatehood Jewish interests in the Litani River were made explicit in letters from Chaim Weizmann, head of the World Zionist Organization (WZO), to various British governmental officials in 1919 and 1920. In a letter to Prime Minister David Lloyd George, Weizmann argued that Lebanon was "well watered" and that the river was "valueless to the territory north of the proposed frontiers. They can be used beneficially in the country much further south." Weizmann concluded that the WZO considered the Litani valley "for a distance of 25 miles above the bend" of the river essential to the future of the Jewish "national home." Nevertheless, the British and the French mandate powers retained the Litani basin entirely in Lebanon. David Ben-Gurion, a leading Zionist and the first prime minister of Israel, suggested to a 1941 international commission on the question of Palestine that the Litani be included in the borders of the future Jewish state. The commission recommended that seven-eighths of the river’s waters be leased to Israel.43

In his diaries, Moshe Sharett-Israel’s second prime minister-quoted Moshe Dayan after the 1967 war as saying that the war had left Israel with "provisionally satisfying frontiers, with the exception of those with Lebanon." The exception Dayan was referring to was Israel’s continued lack of access to the Litani River. While the water sources captured in 1967 were estimated to last Israel into the 1980s, planners anticipated that Israel would need the Litani by then to make up for the shortfall.

Israel hoped that it would have use of the Litani by the mid 1980s, when it projected that it would have fully used up the waters captured in the 1967 war. Israel hoped to meet this goal by securing the Litani in 1978. Israel had even included the Litani in calculations of their water resources.44

In his same diaries, Sharett quoted Dayan’s plan for how Israel might achieve access to the Litani River, from a secret cabinet meeting:

According to him, the only thing necessary is to find an officer, even just a major. We should either win his heart, or buy him with money, to make him agree to declare himself the savior of the Maronite population. Then the Israeli army will enter Lebanon, occupy the necessary territory, and will create a Christian regime which will ally itself with Israel. The territory from the Litani southward will be totally annexed to Israel, and everything will be all right.

In the mid-1970s, Palestinians displaced into Lebanon (largely for lack of water, after Israel siezed the sources they had once relied on), brought tensions between the various factions in Lebanon to a head. Bachir Gemayel, the leader of the Maronite Christian Phalange, was long rumored to have accepted Israeli support and training for his troops. Israeli prime minister Begin grew depressed about the invasion of Lebanon when his hopes for forming a peace with Gemayel were dashed by his assassination. The South Lebanon Army or SLA, also made up of Christians, were seen largely as puppets of Israel. The evidence is circumstantial, but certainly provocative: on the timeline anticipated by Israeli hydrologists, when their estimates required access to the Litani River, a series of events-most of them traceable to Israeli policies-converge to create the very state of civil unrest that Moshe Dayan had proposed for an Israeli invasion to sieze the Litani.

In 1978-the year that Israel’s long term water plans drawn up after the 1967 war called for acquiring the Litani-with the war seeming to reach an uneasy truce, the peace was shattered when Israel invaded, ostensibly to establish a "security zone" in southern Lebanon that would have a northern border of the Litani River-the border Ben Gurion had proposed for Israel in 1947. The codename of the invasion was "Operation Litani."

The hyrdostrategic significance of southern Lebanon is rarely considered as an explanation of current Israeli occupation of the security zone there. The zone stretches along the northern border of Israel and straddles the westward bend of the Litani River. Israel unilaterally established the zone in 1978, after Israeli troops invaded and remained as a hegemonic occupier. Although there are between one and two thousand Israeli troops in the zone, it is controlled and administered by a Christian Lebanese army general who heads the South Lebanese Army (SLA). Trained, equipped, and paid by the Israeli government, the SLA is nonetheless a quasi-militia, composed of Lebanese. The zone has 850 square kilometers, with 85 villages and a population of approximately 180,000.

Shortly after establishing the zone, the Israeli army prohibited drilling of wells there. Moreover, after the 1982 invasion, Israeli army engineers carried out seismic soundings and surveys near the westward bend of the river, probably to determine the optimum place for a diversion tunnel, and confiscated hydrographical charts and technical documents of the river and its installations from the Litani Water Authority offices in the Biqa’a and Beirut. Israel also controlled most or all of the waters from the Hasbani and Wazzani rivers, which rise in Lebanon. Over the years, there have been reports of water siphoning from the Litani into the Jordan River basin, a distance of less than ten kilometers. ...

No one can yet document categorically that the Litani waters are being diverted, because large tracts of land near the crucial westward bend of the river are cordoned off by Israeli troops, which prevents researchers, journalists, and United Nations observers from approaching the area. Independent water analysts, however, have reported that Israel has been diverting some water from the Litani River into the Jordan River by tapping the massive underground water resources. Hence the measured flow of the Litani is not affected.45

The civil war in Lebanon had certain outcomes that Israel likely did not desire: the domination of the north by Syria, or the creation of Hizb’allah in the south when no part of the Lebanese government proved willing or able to fight the Israeli invasion. Hizb’allah carried on a guerrilla campaign against Israel, using a fourth generation warfare approach to countering the IDF in southern Lebanon. As a religious Shi’ite organization, Hizb’allah recieved support from Syria and Iran. In accordance with typical "4GW" tactics, Hizb’allah does not recognize the difference between military and civilians, in part because its own nature, like the "bandits" of the Roman Empire, is to straddle that divide. The mounting casualties from Hizb’allah’s campaign eventually turned public opinion overwhelmingly against the occupation, and in 1999, Ehud Barak was elected prime minister on a campaign promise of withdrawing the IDF from souther Lebanon.

It is easy to overlook the fact that Hizb’allah filled a need throughout southern Lebanon. The civil war left many warring militias and mounting casualties, but few concerned with providing basic services. Hizb’allah’s power, like the power of "bandits" of the past from the U.S.’s Jesse James to anti-Roman bandits like bar Kochba, lies in its popular appeal. Part of that appeal stems from the image that only Hizb’allah is willing to rise above the sectarian chaos of the civil war and stand up against Israel, but most of it derives from the fact that only Hizb’allah has provided any kind of social services for the people of southern Lebanon.

If anything, Hizballah proved infinitely better prepared for the withdrawal than did the Lebanese government. Hizballah members had already been organized into teams according to their home villages and, as the withdrawal progressed, these teams were sent to keep their own people calm and either detain SLA members or persuade them to surrender. While the government dithered, Hizballah took quick and effective control of hospitals and clinics, trucked in water, and brought bulldozers, engineers, and doctors to the south. From the beginning of the withdrawal Hizballah leaders stated a readiness to turn everything over to the government whenever it asked. When UN troops deployed in early August, Hizballah did turn over to them the fortified positions and observation posts they had assumed from the IDF and the SLA-but retained their weapons, which could be used in future cross-border attacks.46

Without control of the Litani, Israel was forced to rely more heavily on the aquifers, at the same time that a years-long drought began. Could this overuse help explain the collapse of the Coastal Aquifer? The withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, already explained in terms of the collapse of its aquifer, left Israel in an even more dire position with regards to water. This brings us to the most recent conflict.

The assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on 14 February 2005 sparked the "Cedar Revolution," in which Syrian domination of northern Lebanon was finally shaken off, and the emergence of a reuinified Lebanon. The renewed government looked to extend its authority into the south, where Hizb’allah had replaced nearly all regular government functions, including defense, the execution of law, and the provision of basic services. By closing the gap Hizb’allah filled, the Lebanese government was dismantling Hizb’allah the only way it effectively could be: making it obsolete.

The "security buffer" that Israel is currently fighting to establish extends to the same westward bend in the Litani that the previous invasion pushed towards. The IDF’s last-minute push north was to the banks of the Litani. The stated reasons for Israel’s actions make no sense, but in light of Israel’s current water crisis and its history with the Litani River, we see that there is a reason that does make sense, and fits perfectly with Israel’s past actions. The recent war was not fought to defeat Hizb’allah-any fool would know that such an action would only strengthen Hizb’allah-it was fought for access to the Litani River, to provide Israel with the water it needs to survive, and strengthening an irritant like Hizb’allah is a price Israel is willing to pay for that.

The zero-sum nature of this game cannot be denied.

The Lebanese government is under increasing pressure to assert its sovereignty over the entire country, and it may ultimately have to concede to Israeli demands of water in exchange for territory. But that would precipitate a new Lebanese crisis. Diverting the Litani would stunt the economic development of the country, frustrate the postwar nation-building process, and strengthen the hands of groups calling for the cantonization or Islamization of the country.

Without the Litani waters, irrigation would be virtually impossible in the south, and much of the region would become desert. Denying the Shia of southern Lebanon water for domestic and agricultural uses would aggravate their frustrations with the central government. For example, rumors in 1974 that the Litani waters were to be diverted to Beirut to meet forecast shortages sparked massive antigovernmental demonstrations.47

Without the Litani, southern Lebanon will be laid waste, and in its desperation it will turn to the only organization that has proven the ability and willingness to provide security and basic services: Hizb’allah. This will make Hizb’allah much stronger in southern Lebanon, just as Israel’s actions have strengthened Hizb’allah’s position with Arab governments. Without the Litani, Israel’s water crisis will deepen; the very survival of Israel is at stake. Either Israel will sieze the Litani, or it will perish. Historically, Hizb’allah has been primarily a nuisance to Israel, but never a genuine threat to its survival, unlike Israel’s lack of access to the Litani. The price of access to the Litani is a stronger Hizb’allah. That is a price the current Israeli government seems happy to pay.

* * *

"Water wars" are not a hypothetical future possibility. The recent invasion of Lebanon was a water war. In Israel, they’ve been raging for four decades. The 1967 "Six Days’ War" was a water war; the intifadas, terrorism and strife that has followed from the occupied territories from that war are all, likewise, water wars. Israel’s involvement in the Lebanese Civil War was for water; Hizb’allah was created from one of Israel’s water wars. Most of the country’s history, right up to the recent conflict, can be understood much more easily than the conventional appeals to religious strife, as the simple struggle for enough water to support Israel’s human population and its agricultural output.

When President Anwar Sadat signed the peace treaty with Israel in 1979, he said Egypt will never go to war again, except to protect its water resources. King Hussein of Jordan has said he will never go to war with Israel again except over water and the Untied Nation Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has warned bluntly that the next war in the area will be over water.48

http://anthropik.com/2006/08/israel...



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Saturday 9 - 03:27
by lishk
The Polisario front suspected of double-play around humanitarian aid hijacking
Friday 8 - 21:44
by NathanT
The Polisario front suspected of double-play around humanitarian aid hijacking
Friday 8 - 21:37
by Nathan Taylor
AMERICA’S JUDASES
Sunday 27 - 20:02
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
What happend to Soraya and Hussein Khashoggi?
Friday 25 - 20:38
by Perseus
The falling Max Ehrich
Thursday 17 - 19:40
by celbbetty
DAMN THE NFL
Wednesday 16 - 01:44
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
Overplaying your hand
Thursday 10 - 12:36
Gujarat Flood 2017 Devastation- Inevitable or Orchestrated in Dhanera ?
Thursday 3 - 06:19
by Dwarika Nath Rath
Multiple citizenship & Zionist subversion of America, Australia, India, Humanity
Wednesday 2 - 03:10
by Dr Gideon Polya
I’M AN IDIOT AND I VOTE
Thursday 27 - 23:23
by David R. Hoffman
The Top Ten Art Scandals That Have Rocked the World
Tuesday 18 - 15:48
by Curtis Judge
John Pilger slams Mainstream silence re Apartheid Israel crimes: Free Palestine
Thursday 13 - 02:43
by Dr Gideon Polya
RUSSIAN MAFIA – NOW IN DUBAI?
Monday 3 - 14:52
by James Dolay
THE NFL IS RACIST
Saturday 1 - 00:31
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
Australian Finkel Review has dirty energy for 50 years & ignores 25 key issues
Monday 19 - 03:37
by Dr Gideon Polya
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: JUSTICE FOR PHILANDO CASTILE
Sunday 18 - 01:03
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
Find out what is true and false about climate change - Kenneth Pouchet
Friday 16 - 17:43
by Kenneth Pouchet
Freedom For Me, But Not You
Wednesday 31 - 02:17
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
Post-Apartheid, non-racist, One State, democratic Palestine can happen tomorrow
Tuesday 30 - 08:21
by Dr Gideon Polya
A Review of Gilad Atzmon’s new book, “Being In Time: The Post-Political Manifes
Wednesday 17 - 21:23
by June Terpstra
Avoiding Another War in North Korea
Sunday 14 - 18:27
by William John Cox
Judah Ben Hur for President 2020
Saturday 13 - 16:15
by William Morgan
ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT FOR DONALD J. TRUMP
Saturday 13 - 02:33
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
As War Party shadow boxes, its agenda surges unopposed
Friday 12 - 14:28
by Daniel Patrick Welch
Yves Bouvier caught in a real estate bankruptcy
Thursday 11 - 20:19
by Pierre Gove
Book: This Is How The State Fucks Your Mind
Tuesday 9 - 19:16
by OAF
ISRAEL’S 1967 ATTACK ON INTELLIGENCE SHIP U.S.S. LIBERTY - THE ONLY MYSTERY
Thursday 20 - 20:06
by JOHN CHUCKMAN

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DAZIBAO
I, European citizen, won’t let refugees be rejected in my name
Thursday 10 March
©Olivier Jobard/Myop I, European citizen, won’t let refugees be rejected in my name THE RIGHT TO ASYLUM IS A RIGHT In the phrase « right to asylum », every word matters. Under the law, every person who is persecuted because of his or her political opinions or because of his or her identity, every person that is endangered by violence, war or misery has a RIGHT to seek asylum in another country The aim of this petition is to collect (...)
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Neo-Nazis and far-right protesters in Ukraine 3 live-stream
Friday 24 January
2 comments
The far-right in Ukraine are acting as the vanguard of a protest movement that is being reported as pro-democracy. The situation on the ground is not as simple as pro-EU and trade versus pro-Putin and Russian hegemony in the region. When US Senator John McCain dined with Ukraine’s opposition leaders in December, he shared a table and later a stage with the leader of the extreme far-right Svoboda party Oleh Tyahnybok. This is Oleh Tyahnybok, he has claimed a "Moscow-Jewish mafia" (...)
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Hugo Chavez is dead (video live)
Wednesday 6 March
by : Collective BELLACIAO
1 comment
President Hugo Chavez companeros venezueliano died after a long battle with cancer.
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International initiative to stop the war in Syria Yes to democracy, no to foreign intervention!
Thursday 13 December
Your support here: http://www.peaceinsyria.org/support.php We, the undersigned, who are part of an international civil society increasingly worried about the awful bloodshed of the Syrian people, are supporting a political initiative based on the results of a fact-finding mission which some of our colleagues undertook to Beirut and Damascus in September 2012. This initiative consists in calling for a delegation of highranking personalities and public figures to go to Syria in order to (...)
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THE KU KLUX KLAN ONCE AGAIN CONTROLS INDIANA
Monday 12 November
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
7 comments
At first glance, the results of America’s 2012 election appear to be a triumph for social, racial, and economic justice and progress in the United States: California voters passed a proposition requiring the rich to shoulder their fair share of the tax burden; Two states, Colorado and Washington, legalized the recreational use of marijuana, while Massachusetts approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes; Washington and two other states, Maine and Maryland, legalized same-sex (...)
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I’VE DECIDED TO "WASTE" MY VOTE
Sunday 28 October
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
In a 2004 episode of Comedy Central’s animated series South Park, an election was held to determine whether the new mascot for the town’s elementary school would be a “giant douche” or a “turd sandwich.” Confronted with these two equally unpalatable choices, one child, Stan Marsh, refused to vote at all, which resulted in his ostracization and subsequent banishment from the town. Although this satirical vulgarity was intended as a commentary on the two (...)
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HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART IV
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART II PART III If there is one major inconsistency in life, it is that young people who know little more than family, friends and school are suddenly, at the age of eighteen, supposed to decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, because of their limited life experiences, the illusions they have about certain occupations do not always comport to the realities. I discovered this the first time I went to college. About a year into my studies, I (...)
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HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART III
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART II PART IV Disillusioned with the machinations of so-called “traditional” colleges, I became an adjunct instructor at several “for-profit” colleges. Thanks largely to the power and pervasiveness of the Internet, “for-profit” colleges (hereinafter for-profits) have become a growing phenomenon in America. They have also been the subject of much political debate and the focus of a Frontline special entitled College Inc. Unlike traditional (...)
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HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART II
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART III PART IV Several years ago, a young lady came into the college where I was teaching to inquire about a full-time instructor’s position in the sociology department. She was advised that only adjunct positions were available. Her response was, “No thanks. Once an adjunct, always an adjunct.” Her words still echo in my mind. Even as colleges and universities raise their tuition costs, they are relying more and more on adjunct instructors. Adjuncts are (...)
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HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART I
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART II PART III PART IV When The Bill of Rights was added to the United States Constitution over two hundred years ago, Americans were blessed with many rights considered to be “fundamental.” One conspicuously missing, however, was the right to an education. This was not surprising given the tenor of the times. America was primarily an agrarian culture, and education, especially higher education, was viewed as a privilege reserved for the children of the rich and (...)
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ONE SOLITARY LIFE, PART TWO
Monday 30 July
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
3 comments
If there is one universal question that haunts all human beings at some point in their lives, it is, “Why do we die?” Death, after all, is the great illogic. It ultimately claims all, the rich and the poor, the mighty and the small, the good and the evil. Death also has the capability to make most human pursuits—such as the quest for wealth, fame and power—vacuous and fleeting. Given this reality, I have often wondered why so many people are still willing to (...)
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HOW MUCH CORRUPTION CAN DEMOCRACY ENDURE?
Thursday 28 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
6 comments
How much corruption can a “democracy” endure before it ceases to be a democracy? If five venal, mendacious, duplicitous, amoral, biased and (dare I say it) satanic Supreme Court “justices”—John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy—have their way, America will soon find out. In several previous articles for Pravda.Ru, I have consistently warned how the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision is one of the (...)
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DEMOCRACY IN THE HANDS OF IDIOTS, PART TWO
Tuesday 12 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
1 comment
Imagine, if you will, that the United States government passes a law banning advertisers from sponsoring commercials on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show or Rupert Murdoch’s Fox (Faux) “News” Network. On one hand, there would be two decided advantages to this ban: The National IQ would undoubtedly increase several percentage points, and manipulative pseudo-journalists would no longer be able to appeal to the basest instincts in human nature for ratings and profit while (...)
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DEMOCRACY IN THE HANDS OF IDIOTS
Thursday 7 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Pravda.Ru Legal Editor
4 comments
LIVE, from the State that brought you Senator Joseph McCarthy, Wisconsin voters now proudly present, fresh from his recall election victory, Governor Scott Walker! At first glance, it is almost unfathomable that anyone with a modicum of intelligence would have voted to retain Scott Walker as Wisconsin’s governor. This, after all, is a man who openly declared he is trying to destroy the rights of workers through a “divide and conquer” strategy; who received 61% of the (...)
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PEOPLE WITHOUT SOULS
Tuesday 13 March
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
2 comments
A question I’ve frequently been asked since I began writing for Pravda.Ru in 2003 is, “Why did you become disillusioned with the practice of law?” This question is understandable, particularly since, in most people’s minds, being an attorney is synonymous with wealth and political power. I’ve always been reluctant to answer this question for fear it will discourage conscientious and ethical people from pursuing careers in the legal profession—a (...)
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