Water politics in the Jordan River basin

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River Jordan
Arabic: نهر الأردن, nahr al-urdun, Hebrew: נהר הירדן, nehar hayarden
Name origin: Greek: Ιορδάνης < Hebrew: ירדן (yardén, "descender") < ירד
Countries Israel, Jordan, State of Palestine, Syria
Region Middle East
 - left Banias, Dan River (Israel), Jalud
 - right Yarmouk, Jabbok, Jabesh (Wadi Yabis)
City Jericho
Landmark Sea of Galilee
Source Hasbani
Length 251 km (156 mi)

Water politics in the Jordan River basin refers to political issues of water within the Jordan River drainage basin, including competing claims and water usage, and issues of riparian rights of surface water along transnational rivers, as well as the availability and usage of ground water. Water resources in the region are scarce, and these issues directly affect the five political subdivisions (Israel, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan) located within and bordering the basin, which were created since the collapse, during World War I, of the former single controlling entity, the Ottoman Empire. Because of the scarcity of water and a unique political context, issues of both supply and usage outside the physical limits of the basin have been included historically.

The Jordan river basin and its water are central issues of both the Arab–Israeli conflict (including Israeli–Palestinian conflict), as well as the more recent Syrian Civil War.[1] The Jordan River is 251 kilometres (156 mi) long and, over most of its distance, flows at elevations below sea level. Its waters originate from the high precipitation areas in and near the Anti-Lebanon mountains in the north, and flow through the Sea of Galilee and Jordan River Valley ending in the Dead Sea at an elevation of minus 400 metres, in the south.

Geography of Jordan basin[edit]

Downstream of the Sea of Galilee, where the main tributaries enter the Jordan Valley from the east, the valley bottom widens to about 15 miles (24 km). This area is characterized by higher alluvial or beach terraces paralleling the river; this area is known as the Ghor (or Ghawr). These terraces are locally incised by side wadis or rivers forming a maze of ravines, alternating with sharp crests and rises, with towers, pinnacles and a badlands morphology.

At a lower elevation is the active Jordan River floodplain, the zhor (or Zur), with a wildly meandering course, which accounts for the excessive length of the river in comparison to the straight-line distance to reach the Dead Sea. Small dams were built along the river within the Zhor, turning the former thickets of reeds, tamarisk, willows, and white poplars into irrigated fields. After flowing through the Zur, the Jordan drains into the Dead Sea across a broad, gently sloping delta.

In the upper Jordan river basin, upstream of the Sea of Galilee, the tributaries include:

  • The Hasbani (Arabic: الحاصباني‎), Snir (Hebrew: שניר‎), which flows from Lebanon.
  • The Banias (Arabic: بانياس‎), Hermon (Hebrew: חרמון‎), arising from a spring at Banias near the foot of Mount Hermon.
  • The Dan (Hebrew: דן‎), Leddan (Arabic: اللدان‎), whose source is also at the base of Mount Hermon.
  • Berdara (Arabic: دردره‎), or Braghith (Arabic: براغيث‎), The Iyon or Ayoun (Hebrew: עיון‎), a smaller stream which also flows from Lebanon.

The lower Jordan River tributaries include:

  • The Jalud in the Beth Shean valley
  • The Yarmouk River, which originates on the south-eastern slopes of Mount Hermon and the Hauran Plateau, forms the southern limit of the Golan Heights and flows into the Jordan River below the Sea of Galilee. It also defines portions of the border between Jordan and Syria, as well as a shorter portion between Jordan and Israel.
  • The Zarqa River, the Biblical Jabbok
  • Jabesh (Wadi Yabis) named after Jabesh-Gilead

Hydrology of the Jordan River[edit]

The riparian rights to the Jordan River are shared by 4 different countries: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel as well as the Palestinian territories; although Israel as the occupying authority has refused to give up any of the water resources to the Palestinian National Authority.[2] The Jordan River originates near the borders of three countries, Israel, Lebanon, and Syria, with most of the water derived from the Anti-Lebanon Mountains and Mount Hermon to the north and east. Three spring-fed headwater rivers converge to form the Jordan River in the north:

  1. The Hasbani River, which rises in south Lebanon, with an average annual flow of 138 million cubic metres,
  2. The Dan River, in Israel, averaging 245 million cubic metres per year, and
  3. The Banias River flowing from the Golan Heights, averaging 121 million cubic metres per year.

These streams converge six kilometres inside Israel and flow south to the Sea of Galilee, wholly within Israel.[3]

Water quality is variable in the river basin. The three tributaries of the upper Jordan have a low salinity of about 20 ppm.[4] The salinity of water in Lake Tiberias ranges from 240 ppm in the upper end of the lake (marginal for irrigation water), to 350 ppm (too high for sensitive citrus fruits) where it discharges back into the Jordan River.[4] The salt comes from the saline subterranean springs. These springs pass through the beds of ancient seas and then flow into Lake Tiberias, as well as the groundwater sources that feed into the lower Jordan. Downstream of Tiberias, the salinity of the tributary Yarmouk River is also satisfactory, at 100 ppm,[4] but the lower Jordan river becomes progressively more saline as it flows south. It reaches twenty-five percent salinity (250,000 ppm) where it flows in the Dead Sea, which is about seven times saltier than the ocean.[5]

As a resource for freshwater the Jordan River drainage system is vital for most of the population of Palestine, Israel and Jordan, and to a lesser extent in Lebanon and Syria who are able to use water from other national sources. (Although Syrian riparian rights to the Euphrates has been severely restricted by Turkey's dam building programme, a series of 21 dams and 17 hydroelectric stations built on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, in the 1980s, 90s and projected to be completed in 2010, in order to provide irrigation water and hydroelectricity to the arid area of southeastern Turkey.[6]) The CIA analysis in the 1980s placed the Middle East on the list of possible conflict zones because of water issues. Twenty per cent of the region’s population lack access to adequate potable water and 35% of the population lack appropriate sanitation.[7]

Sharing water resources involves the issue of water use, water rights, and distribution of amounts. The Palestinian National Authority wished to expand and develop the agricultural sector in the West Bank to decrease their dependency on the Israeli labour market, while Israel have prevented an increase in the irrigation of the West bank.[8] Jordan also wishes to expand its agricultural sector so as to be able to achieve food security.[9]

On 21 May 1997 the UN General Assembly adopted a Convention on the Law of Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses.[10][11]

The articles establish two principles for the use of international watercourses (other than navigation): "equitable and reasonable utilization".[10] and "the ‘due diligence’ obligation not to cause significant harm."[10] Equitable and reasonable utilization requires taking into account all relevant factors and circumstances, including:

  • (a) Geographic, hydrographic, hydrological, climatic, ecological and other factors of a natural character;
  • (b) The social and economic needs of the watercourse States concerned;
  • (c) The population dependent on the watercourse in each watercourse State;
  • (d) The effects of the use or uses of the watercourses in one watercourse State on other watercourse States;
  • (e) Existing and potential uses of the watercourse;
  • (f) Conservation, protection, development and economy of use of the water resources of the watercourse and the costs of measures taken to that effect;
  • (g) The availability of alternatives, of comparable value, to a particular planned or existing use.[12][13]

Historical timeline[edit]

Ottoman and Mandatory periods[edit]

Studies of regional water resources and their development, in modern terms, date from the early 1900s during the period of Ottoman rule;[14] they also follow in light of a significant engineering milestone and resource development achievement.[15] Based largely on geographic, engineering and economic considerations many of these plans included common components, but political considerations and international events would soon follow.[14]

After the First World War, the Jordan River Basin began to be seen as a problem of quantitative allocations.[16] In the late 1930s and mid-1940s, Transjordan and the World Zionist Organization commissioned mutually exclusive competing water resource studies. The Transjordanian study, performed by Michael G. Ionides, concluded that the available water resources are not sufficient to sustain a Jewish state which would be the destination for Jewish immigration. The Zionist study, by the American engineer Walter Clay Lowdermilk, concluded that by diverting water from the Jordan basin to support agriculture and residential development in the Negev, a Jewish state supporting 4 million new immigrants would be sustainable.[17]

Below is a brief timeline summarizing policy attempts related to sharing water in the Jordan River Basin between 1922 to 1940s.

year policy objective
1922 British Palestine Mandate Formalized British rule in the Southern part of Ottoman Syria from 1923-1948. Also expressed favor for establishing Palestine as a Jewish State.[18]
1926 Rutenberg Concession Pinhas Rutenberg was a Jewish Zionist entrepreneur who was the driving force behind electricity in Palestine. This concession granted to utilize the waters of the Auja basin as well as Jordan and Yarmouk Rivers for the generation and supply of electricity in Palestine.[19]
1936 First regional water project delivered water to Western Galilee working toward establishing continuous flow of replenishable water source to the area.[20]
1937 Founding of Mekorot to perform and complete all goals and needs associated with distributing, measuring and producing water.[21]
1939 Ionides Plan Contained three recommendations: Yarmouk river floodwaters be diverted and stored in the Kinneret, that these stored waters be diverted and used to provide irrigation for lands east of the Jordan River, and that irrigation water in the Jordan River be primarily used for lands within the Jordan River Basin.[22]
1944 Lowdermilk Plan Suggested by Walter C. Lowdermilk, this was a plan to dig a seawater canal from Haifa Bay to the Dead Sea to generate hydroelectric power on a vast scale.[23][better source needed]

Post-Mandatory period[edit]

At the end of the 1948 Arab Israeli War with the signing of the General Armistice Agreements in 1949, both Israel and Jordan embarked on implementing their competing initiatives to utilize the water resources in the areas under their control.

The first "Master Plan for Irrigation in Israel" was drafted in 1950 and approved by a Board of Consultants (of the USA) on 8 March 1956. The main features of the Master Plan was the construction of the Israeli National Water Carrier (NWC), a project for the integration of all major regional projects into the Israeli national grid. Tahal – Water Planning for Israel Ltd., an Israeli public corporate body, was established in 1952, being largely responsible for planning of water development, drainage, etc., at the national level within Israel, including the NWC project which was commissioned in 1965.

In 1952, the Bunger plan was issued by Jordan in collaboration with UNRWA and US Technical Cooperation Agency's Point IV program, aiming to provide water to 100,000 resettled Palestinian refugees, to be relocated into Northern Jordan.[24] The plan included construction of major Maqarin dam over Yarmouk river to store some 500 million cubic meters of water and serve Jordan and Syria, allowing Jordan to avoid from storing water in the mostly Israeli-controlled Lake Tiberias.[24] The Maqarin dam was also designated to provide electricity, while a smaller dam at Adasiya was supposed to divert Yarmouk-originated water to the Jordanian East Ghor Canal, aimed to irrigate Jordanian areas east to the Jordan river. A plan was also issued concerning the West Ghor Canal, envisioning a siphone to irrigate also the West Bank.[24] In March 1953, Jordan and UNRWA signed a preliminary agreement to implement the Bunger plan. Shortly, on June 1953, Jordan and Syria signed a complementary treaty in this regard. Despite the expected objection of Israel, Jordan moved with the plan and in July 1953 allocated funding for the project in collaboration with UNRWA and US Government, pending later agreement with Israel.[24] The Israeli government protested to US over the Maqarin dam plan, over not taking into account its rights on the Yarmouk waters downstream. While Israel convinced the US to pause the project until the issue is resolved, it also offered its eagerness to discuss it with the Arab governments.

In 1953, Israel began construction of a water carrier to take water from the Sea of Galilee to the populated center and agricultural south of the country, while Jordan concluded an agreement with Syria, known as the Bunger plan, to dam the Yarmouk River near Maqarin, and utilize its waters to irrigate Jordanian territory, before they could flow to the Sea of Galilee.[25] Military clashes ensued, and US President Dwight Eisenhower dispatched ambassador Johnston to the region to work out a plan that would regulate water usage.[26]

Below is a brief timeline summarizing policy attempts related to sharing water in the Jordan River Basin between 1951 and 1955.

year policy objective
1951 Murdoch Macdonald Corporation Report commissioned by Jordanian Government proposed extension of irrigation in the Jordan Valley.[27]
1952 Main Plan Favored primary in-basin use of Jordan waters and ruled out integration of the Litani River. It designated provisional quotas to Israel, Jordan and Syria.[28]
1952 Bunger Plan issued by Jordan in collaboration with UNRWA and US Technical Cooperation Agency's Point IV program - aiming to provide water to 100,000 resettled Palestinian refugees, to be relocated into Northern Jordan.[24]
1953 Construction of National Water Carrier begins To transfer water from Kinneret to the center of the country and the dry southern region. Enabled efficient use of water and regulation of the water supply in the country.[29][better source needed]
1953 Initial Johnston Plan The attainment of an agreement which guaranteed the availability of water for the irrigation of crops for populations surrounding the Jordan River Basin.[30]
1954 Cotton Plan Israel's counter-proposal to the Main Plan, which included the Litani river, required out-of-basin transfers and identified Lake Tiberias as a storage facility.[31]
1954 Arab Plan Offered by the Arab League Technical Committee as another counter proposal to the Main Plan, it excluded the Litani River, promoted in-basin use, and rejected storage in Lake Tiberias.[31]
1955 Modified Johnston Report Designated water consumption of the Jordan River; 60% was to be used by Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, with the remaining 40% to be allocated to Israel. It postponed discussions on the use of Lake Tiberias as storage for five years.[20]

Between 1955 and the beginning of the Oslo Process, there was little attempt at policy making in regards to shared bodies of water.[16]

Six-Day War and aftermath[edit]

On 10 June 1967, the last day of the Six-Day War, Golani Brigade forces quickly invaded the village of Banias where a caliphate era Syrian fort stood. Eshkol's priority on the Syrian front was control of the water sources.[32]

Regional stagnation (1980s)[edit]

In 1980, Syria unilaterally started a programme of dam building along the Yarmouk.

The southern slopes of Mount Hermon (Jebel esh-Sheikh) as well as the Western Golan Heights, were unilaterally annexed by Israel in 1981.

In 1988, the Syrian-Jordanian agreement on development of the Yarmouk was blocked when Israel, as a riparian right holder, refused to ratify the plan and the World Bank withholds funding. Israel's augments its Johnson plan allocation of 25,000,000 m³/yr by a further 45,000,000–75,000,000 m³/yr.[citation needed]

Jordanian-Israeli peace deal and aftermath[edit]

The water agreement formed a part of the broader political treaty which was signed between Israel and Jordan in 1994, and the articles relating to water in this agreement do not correspond with Jordan’s rights to water as they were originally claimed. The nature and significance of the wider 1994 treaty meant that the water aspect was forced to cede importance and priority in negotiations, giving way to areas such as borders and security in terms of armed force, which were perceived by decision-makers as being the most integral issues to the settlement.[33] Main points from the water sharing in the Jordan/Israel Peace treaty.[34]

Jordan being a country that borders on the Jordan has riparian rights to water from the Jordan basin and upper Jordan tributaries. Due to the water diversion projects the flow to the river Jordan has been reduced from 1,300 million–1,500 million cubic metres to 250 million–300 million cubic metres. Where the water quality has been further reduced as the flow of the river Jordan is made of run-off from agricultural irrigation and saline springs.[35][36]

Israel's subsequent developments have been mainly aimed at enlarging the main distribution system of Israel, run-off interception, reclamation of waste-water, and increasing the operational efficiency of water distribution networks. Over the years, the irrigated area within Israel has increased from 28,000 ha in 1948 to some 220,000 ha in 1997.

Problems can be seen to have emerged in 1999, when the treaty’s limitations were revealed by events concerning water shortages in the Jordan basin. A reduced supply of water to Israel due to drought meant that, in turn, Israel which is responsible for providing water to Jordan, decreased its water provisions to the country, provoking a diplomatic disagreement between the two and bringing the water component of the treaty back into question.[37]

Israel's complaints that the reduction in water from the tributaries to the river Jordan caused by the Jordanian-Syrian dam look to go unheeded due to the conflict of interest between Israel and her neighbours.[38]

Syrian Civil War and its effect on Jordan basin[edit]

The dramatic drought, which hit Levant between 1998 to 2012, was identified by scientists to be the most severe in 900 years.[39] The dramatic effect of the drought on southern Syria is proposed as one of the factors which led to the eruption of the Syrian Civil War.[40]

Historically, prior to the eruption of Syrian War in 2011, the Syrian government had developed a series of 21 dams in the Yarmouk drainage basin to divert water into large reservoirs used for irrigation of agricultural land. Jordan had built a large dam of its own on the Yarmouk, the Al-Wehda Dam, in order to exploit the water for its own agriculture.[41] However, prior to the Syrian War, the amount of water it collected by Jordanian dam had fallen as Syria dammed the river upstream.[41] While the Yarmouk flows into the Jordan River, most of its water has been used in Syria and Jordan before reaching the river. Since the civil war broke out, hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled the area of southern Syria, many of whom were farmers. Most fled to refugee camps in Jordan.[41] As a result, much more water now flows in the Yarmouk River and thus greater quantities of water are reaching the parts of the river that flow through Jordan, and later into Israel as well.[41]

Jordan basin[edit]


The Syria-Lebanon-Palestine boundary was a product of the post-World War I Anglo-French partition of Ottoman Syria.[42][43] British forces had advanced to a position at Tel Hazor against Turkish troops in 1918 and wished to incorporate all the sources of the Jordan River within the British controlled Palestine. Due to the French inability to establish administrative control, the frontier between Syria and Palestine was fluid. Following the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, and the unratified and later annulled Treaty of Sèvres, stemming from the San Remo conference, the 1920 boundary extended the British controlled area to north of the Sykes Picot line, a straight line between the mid point of the Sea of Galilee and Nahariya. In 1920 the French managed to assert authority over the Arab nationalist movement and after the Battle of Maysalun, King Faisal was deposed.[44] The international boundary between Palestine and Syria was finally agreed by Great Britain and France in 1923 in conjunction with the Treaty of Lausanne, after Britain had been given a League of Nations mandate for Palestine in 1922.[45] Banyas (on the Quneitra/Tyre road) was within the French Mandate of Syria. The border was set 750 metres south of the spring.[43][46]

In 1941 Australian forces occupied Banyas in the advance to the Litani during the Syria-Lebanon Campaign;[47] Free French and Indian forces also invaded Syria in the Battle of Kissoué.[48] Banias's fate in this period was left in a state of limbo since Syria had come under British military control. After the cessation of World War II hostilities, and at the time Syria was granted Independence (April 1946), the former mandate powers, France and Britain, bilaterally signed an agreement to pass control of Banias to the British mandate of Palestine. This was done against the expressed wishes of the Syrian government who declared France's signature to be invalid. While Syria maintained its claim on Banias in this period, it was administered from Jerusalem.[49][50]

Following the 1948 Arab Israeli War, and the signing of the General Armistice Agreements in 1949, and DMZs included in the Armistice with Syria in July 1949, were "not to be interpreted as having any relation whatsoever to ultimate territorial arrangements." Israel claimed sovereignty over the Demilitarised zones (DMZs), on the basis that, "it was always part of the British Mandated Territory of Palestine." Moshe Dayan and Yosef Tekoah adopted a policy of Israeli control of the DMZ and water sources at the expense of Israel’s international image.[51] The Banias spring remained under Syrian control, while the Banias River flowed through the contested Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and into Israel.[52]


The Hasbani River derives most of its discharge from two springs in Lebanon[53][54] the Wazzani and the Haqzbieh, the latter being a group of springs on the uppermost Hasbani.[55] The Hasbani runs for 25 miles (40 km) in Lebanon before crossing the border and joining with the Banias and Dan Rivers at a point in northern Israel, to form the River Jordan.[56] For about four kilometres downstream of Ghajar, the Hasbani forms the border between Lebanon and northern Israel.

The Wazzani's and the Haqzbieh's combined discharge averages 138 million m³ per year.[57] About 20% of the Hasbani flow[58] emerges from the Wazzani Spring at Ghajar, close to the Lebanese Israeli border, about 3 kilometres west of the base of Mount Hermon. The contribution of the spring is very important, because it is the only continuous year-round flow in the river in either Lebanon or Israel.[59]

Utilization of water resources in the area, including the Hasbani, has been a source of conflict and was one of the factors leading to the 1967 Six-Day War.[60][61] The Hasbani was included in the Jordan Valley Unified Water Plan, proposed in 1955 by special US envoy Eric Johnston.[62] Under the plan, Lebanon was allocated usage of 35 million cubic metres annually from it. The plan was rejected by the Arab League.

In 2001 the Lebanese government installed a small pumping station with a 10 cm bore to extract water to supply Ghajar village.[63] In March 2002 Lebanon also diverted part of the Hasbani to supply Wazzani village. An action that Ariel Sharon said was a "casus belli" and could lead to war.[64][65][66][67]


The Dan River is the largest tributary of the Jordan river, whose source is located at the base of Mount Hermon.[68] Until the 1967 Six-Day War, the Dan River was the only source of the river Jordan wholly within Israeli territory. Its flow provides up to 238 million cubic metres of water annually to the Hulah Valley. In 1966 this was a cause of dispute between water planners and conservationists, with the latter prevailing after three years of court adjudication and appeals. The result was a conservation project of about 120 acres (0.49 km2) at the source of the river called the Tel Dan Reserve.[69]

Huleh marshes[edit]

In 1951 the tensions in the area were raised when, in the lake Huleh area (10 km from Banias), Israel initiated a project to drain the marsh land to bring 15,000 acres (61 km2) into cultivation. The project caused a conflict of interests between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Arab villages in the area and drew Syrian complaints to the United Nations.[70][71] On 30 March in a meeting chaired by David Ben-Gurion the Israeli government decided to assert Israeli sovereignty over the DMZs, consequently 800 inhabitants of the villages were forcibly evacuated from the DMZ.[71][72] From 1951 Israel refused to attend the meetings of the Israel/Syria Mixed Armistice Commission. This refusal on the part of Israel not only constituted a flagrant violation of the General Armistice Agreement, but also contributed to an increase of tension in the area. The Security Council itself strongly condemned the attitude of Israel, in its resolution of 18 May 1951, as being "inconsistent with the objectives and intent of the Armistice Agreement"[72]

Under UN auspices and with encouragement from the Eisenhower administration 9 meetings took place between 15 and 27 January 1953, to regularise administration of the 3 DMZs.[73] At the eighth meeting Syria offered to adjust the armistice lines, and cede to Israel's 70% of the DMZ, in exchange for a return to the pre 1946 international border in the Jordan basin area, with Banias water resources returning uncontested to Syrian sovereignty. On 26 April, the Israeli cabinet met to consider the Syrian suggestions; with head of Israel’s Water Planning Authority, Simha Blass, in attendance. Blass noted that while the land to be ceded to Syria was not suitable for cultivation, the Syrian map did not suit Israel’s water development plan. Blass explained that the movement of the international boundary in the area of Banias would affect Israel’s water rights.[74] The Israeli cabinet rejected the Syrian proposals but decided to continue the negotiations by making changes to the accord and placing conditions on the Syrian proposals. The Israeli conditions took into account Blass’s position over water rights and Syria rejected the Israeli counteroffer.[74]

On 4 June 1953 Jordan and Syria concluded a bilateral plan to store surface water at Maqarin (completed in 2006 as Al-Wehda Dam), so as to be able to use the water resources of the Yarmouk river in the Yarmouk-Jordan valley plan, funded through the Technical Cooperation Agency of the United States of America, the UNRWA and Jordan.[75]

Part of the Hula marshes were re-flooded in 1994 due to the negative effects from the original drainage plan.[76]

Regional projects[edit]

Israeli National Water Carrier project[edit]

In September 1953, Israel unilaterally started a water diversion project within the Jordan River basin to divert water from the Jordan River at Jacob's Ford (B'not Yacov) to help irrigate the coastal Sharon Plain and eventually the Negev desert. The diversion project consisted of a nine-mile (14 km) channel midway between the Huleh Marshes and Lake Galilee (Lake Tiberias) in the central DMZ to be rapidly constructed. Syria claimed that it would dry up 12,000 acres (49 km2) of Syrian land. The UNTSO Chief of Staff Major General Vagn Bennike of Denmark noted that the project was denying water to two Palestinian water mills, was drying up Palestinian farm land and was a substantial military benefit to Israel against Syria. The US cut off aid to Israel. The Israeli response was to increase work. UN Security Council Resolution 100[77] “deemed it desirable” for Israel to suspend work started on 2 September “pending urgent examination of the question by the Council”. Israel finally backed off by moving the intake out of the DMZ and for the next three years the US kept its economic sanctions by threatening to end aid channelled to Israel by the Foreign Operations Administration and insisting on tying the aid with Israel's behaviour.[78] The Security Council ultimately rejected Syrian claims that the work was a violation of the Armistice Agreements and drainage works were resumed and the work was completed in 1957.[79] This caused shelling from Syria and friction with the Eisenhower Administration; the diversion was moved to the southwest to Eshed Kinrot into the Israeli National Water Carrier project, designed by Tahal and constructed by Mekorot.[78][80][81]

Jordan Valley Unified Water Plan[edit]

1955 US ambassador Eric Johnston negotiated the Jordan Valley Unified Water Plan.[62] The plan was for the unified development of the Jordan Valley water resources based on an earlier plan commissioned by United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Modeled upon the Tennessee Valley Authority development plan, it was approved by technical water committees of all the regional riparian countries – Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.[82] The plan was formally rejected by the Arab Higher Committee, but Nasser, the Egyptian president, assured the Americans that the Arabs would not exceed the water quotas prescribed by the Johnston plan.[83] Jordan undertook to abide by their allocations under the plan. The plan was initially un-ratified by Israel, but after the US linked the Johnston plan to aid, also agreed to accept the allocation provisions.[78][84][85]

Source Lebanon Syria Jordan Israel
Hasbani 35
Banias 20
Jordan (main stream) 22 100 **
Yarmouk 90 377* 25
Total 35 132 477 25
except for the above withdrwals
*the waters of the Yarmouk River will be available for the unconditional use of the Kingdom of the [sic] Jordan
** and the waters of the Jordan River will be for unconditional use of Israel.[86]

The East Ghor canal formed part of a larger project – the Greater Yarmouk project – which envisioned two storage dams on the Yarmouk, and a West Ghor Canal, on the West Bank of the Jordan. These projects were never built, due to Israel's occupation of the West Bank of the Jordan River during the Six-Day War. After the Six-Day War, The PLO operated from bases within Jordan, and launched several attacks on Israeli settlements in the Jordan valley, including attacks on water facilities. Israel responded with raids in Jordan, in an attempt to force King Hussein of Jordan to rein in the PLO. The canal was the target of at least 4 of these raids, and was virtually knocked out of commission. The United states intervened to resolve the conflict, and the canal was repaired after Hussien undertook to stop PLO activity in the area.[87]

Headwater Diversion Plan[edit]

First summit of Arab Heads of State was convened in Cairo between 13–17 January 1964, called by Nasser the Egyptian president, to discuss a common policy to confront Israel's national water carrier project which was nearing completion. The second Arab League summit conference voted on a plan which would have circumvent and frustrated it. The Arab and North African states chose to divert the Jordan headwaters rather than the use of direct military intervention. The heads of State of the Arab League considered two options:

  1. The diversion of the Hasbani to the Litani combined with the diversion of the Banias to the Yarmouk,
  2. The diversion of both the Hasbani and the Banias to the Yarmouk.

The Arab league plan selected was for the Hasbani and Banias waters to be diverted to Mukhaiba and stored.[80] The scheme was only marginally feasible, was technically difficult and expensive. Arab political considerations were cited to justify the diversion scheme.[88] In January 1964 an Arab League summit meeting convened in Cairo and decided:

The establishment of Israel is the basic threat that the Arab nation in its entirety has agreed to forestall. And Since the existence of Israel is a danger that threatens the Arab nation, the diversion of the Jordan waters by it multiplies the dangers to Arab existence. Accordingly, the Arab states have to prepare the plans necessary for dealing with the political, economic and social aspects, so that if necessary results are not achieved, collective Arab military preparations, when they are not completed, will constitute the ultimate practical means for the final liquidation of Israel.[89]

After the 2nd Arab summit conference in Cairo of January 1964 (with the backing of all 13 Arab League members), Syria in a joint project with Lebanon and Jordan, started the development of the water resources of Banias for a canal along the slopes of the Golan toward the Yarmouk River. While Lebanon was to construct a canal form the Hasbani River to Banias and complete the scheme.[90][89] The project was to divert 20 to 30 million cubic metres of water from the river Jordan tributaries to Syria and Jordan for the development of Syria and Jordan.[89][91] The Syrian construction of the Banias to Yarmouk canal got under way in 1965. Once completed, the diversion of the flow would have transported the water into a dam at Mukhaiba for use by Jordan and Syria before the waters of the Banias Stream entered Israel and the Sea of Galilee. Lebanon also started a canal to divert the waters of the Hasbani, whose source is in Lebanon, into the Banias. The Hasbani and Banias diversion works would have had the effect of reducing the capacity of Israel's carrier by about 35% and Israel's overall water supply by about 11%. Israel declared that it would regard such diversion as an infringement of its sovereign rights. The Finance of the project was through contributions by Saudi Arabia and Egypt.[80] This led to military intervention from Israel, first with tank and artillery fire and then, as the Syrians shifted the works further southwards, with airstrikes.


  1. ^ Syrian Civil War Has Several Environmental Side-effects on Israel and Jordan "The bloody civil war in Syria has had a number of unintended environmental side-effects, one of which was revealed last week: A steep reduction in agricultural activity in the southern part of the country. As a result, farmers have used much less water from natural sources and much more water now flows in the Yarmouk River, the largest tributary of the Jordan River."
  2. ^ Palestine is characterised by limited surface and groundwater water resources. The main surface water system in the region is the Jordan River basin which begins in three headwaters. The Hasbani River originates in Lebanon and has at least parts of its flow in Lebanon with an average flow of 138 million cubic metres per year. The Dan and Banias (Nahal Hermon in Israel) Rivers originate in the Golan Heights and both flow into the Jordan above Tabariyya Lake [Lake Galilee] having an average flow of 1.3 km³/yr. The Jordan River Basin is considered under international law as an international river with water shared by; Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestine. Daibes-Murad, Fadia (2005) A New Legal Framework for Managing the World's Shared Groundwaters: A Case Study from the Middle East IWA Publishing, ISBN 1-84339-076-0 pp 37–39
  3. ^ Lowi, Miriam R. (1995) Water and Power: The Politics of a Scarce Resource in the Jordan River Basin Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-55836-0 p 25
  4. ^ a b c John D. Keenan, Technological Aspects of Water Resources Management: Euphrates and Jordan, in Country Experiences with Water Resources Management 37–49, at 37 (World Bank Technical Paper No. 175, 1992) (Guy Le Moigne & Shakwi Barghouti eds.).
  5. ^ Aaron Wolf & John Ross, The Impact of Scarce Water Resources on the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 32 Nat. Resources J. 919, 922 (1992). The Dead Sea receives an average flow from the Jordan River of 1.85 km³/yr (1.85 billion m3/year).
  6. ^ Turkey. Clive Agnew, Ewan W. Anderson (1992) Water Resources in the Arid Realm Routledge, ISBN 0-415-04346-8 pp 198–199
  7. ^ Swain, Ashok (2004) Managing Water Conflict: Asia, Africa, and the Middle East Routledge, ISBN 0-7146-5566-X p 79
  8. ^ Shapland Greg (1997) Rivers of Discord: International Water Disputes in the Middle East C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, ISBN 1-85065-214-7 p 52
  9. ^ Shapland Greg (1997) ibid p 53
  10. ^ a b c UN Document A/RES/51/229 8 July 1997 Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses 1997
  11. ^ McCaffrey Stephen C. (2001) The Law of International Watercourses: Non-navigational Uses Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-825787-2 Annex A pp 446–464
  12. ^ 36 I.L.M. 700 (1997). Was passed by a vote of 103 in favour, to 3 against (Burundi, China, Turkey), with 27 abstentions (Andorra, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Israel, Mali, Monaco, Mongolia, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, Spain, Tanzania and Uzbekistan). The Convention has been signed by Finland, Luxembourg, Portugal, South Africa, the Syrian Arab Republic, and Venezuela. [United Nations, Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary General, 12 February 1998. The Convention will enter into force 90 days after it has been ratified or accepted by thirty five signatories, (Article 36)].
  13. ^ Shine, Clare and de Klemm, Iucn, Cyrille (1999) Wetlands, Water and the Law: Using Law to Advance Wetland Conservation and Wise Use IUCN, ISBN 2-8317-0478-2, pp 273–275
  14. ^ a b Historical Development Plans for the Jordan River Basin
  15. ^ Roberts, Chalmers (December 1902), "Subduing the Nile", The World's Work: A History of Our Time, V: 2861–2870, retrieved 10 July 2009 
  16. ^ a b David B. Brooks and Julie Trottier, "An Agreement to Share Water Between Israelis and Palestinians: the FoEME proposal", "FoEME", March 2012
  17. ^ Water Resources in Jordan, Munther J. Haddadin, pp 237–238, Resources for the Future, 2006
  18. ^ "British Mandate", "Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia", 8 May 2015.
  19. ^ Margit, Cohen "Energy Law In Israel", "Kluwer Law International", 2010.
  20. ^ a b "Water in Israel: Israel's Chronic Water Problem, "Jewish Virtual Library".
  21. ^ Mordechai Naor, "The Founding of Mekorot", 1984.
  22. ^ David B. Brooks and Stephen C. Lonergan, "Watershed: the role of freshwater in the Israeli Palestinian Conflict", "International Development Research", 1994.
  23. ^ "Walter C. Lowdermilk", "Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia", 27 April 2015.
  24. ^ a b c d e Jeffrey K. Sosland. Cooperating Rivals: The Riparian Politics of the Jordan River Basin. Pp.28–29
  25. ^ Water Resources in Jordan, Munther J. Haddadin, p 239, Resources for the Future, 2006
  26. ^ Water Resources in Jordan, Munther J. Haddadin, p 32, Resources for the Future, 2006
  27. ^ Samir N. Saliba, "The Jordan River Dispute", "Springer", 2012.
  28. ^ "Managing Water for Peace", "United Nations University"
  29. ^ "National Water Carrier of Israel", "Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia", 26 April 2015.
  30. ^ Aquastat, "Jordan", "FAO",
  31. ^ a b Ahmed Abukhater, "Water as a Catalyst for Peace: Transboundary Water Management and Conflict Resolution", "Routledge", 2013.
  32. ^ Eshkol reiterated his position: he really only wanted to control the northern Golan and the water sources. Segev, Tom (2007) 1967; Israel and the war that transformed the Middle East Little, Brown ISBN 978-0-316-72478-4 p 399
  33. ^ J. A. Allan, ‘The Jordan-Israel Peace Agreement – September 1994’, in Allan and J. H. O. Court, (1996) Water, Peace and the Middle East: Negotiating Resources in the Jordan Basin (I. B. Tauris Academic Studies, London, St. Martin's Press [distributor]), ISBN 1-86064-055-9 pp 207/21
  34. ^ *Water from the Yarmouk River …Summer Period: 15 May to 15 October of each year, Israel pumps 12,000,000 m³ and Jordan gets the rest of the flow. … Winter Period: 16 October to 14 May of each year, Israel pumps 13,000,000 m³ and Jordan is entitled to the rest of the flow.
    • Water from the Jordan River
    …Summer Period: 15 May to 15 October of each year, Israel concedes to transfer to Jordan in the summer period 20,000,000 m³ in return for the additional water that Jordan concedes to Israel in winter … Winter Period: 16 October to 14 May of each year, Jordan is entitled to store for its use a minimum average of 20,000,000 m³ of the floods in the Jordan River. Jordan is entitled to an annual quantity of 10,000,000 m³ of desalinated water fromm the desalination of about 20,000,000 m³ of saline springs now diverted to the Jordan River.
    • Additional water
    …Israel and Jordan shall cooperate in finding sources for the supply to Jordan of an additional quantity of 50,000,000 m³/yr of water of drinkable standards.
    • Storage
    …Israel and Jordan shall cooperate to build a diversion/storage dam on the Yarmouk River directly downstream of the Adassiya Diversion …Israel and Jordan shall cooperate to build a system of water storage on the Jordan River, along their common boundary
  35. ^ Amery, Hussein A. and Wolf, Aaron T. (2000) Water in the Middle East: A Geography of Peace University of Texas Press, ISBN 0-292-70495-X p 37
  36. ^ Guardian 9 March 2005 Once mighty Jordan reduced to a trickle After decades of extracting water, Israel and its neighbour discuss how to avert ecological disaster in river kept alive by the flow of sewage
  37. ^ Ha'aretz ‘A dry Israel must cut water flow to Jordan’ by A. Cohen, 15 March 1999 as quoted in Hydro-Peace in the Middle East: Why no Water Wars?: A Case Study of the Jordan River Basin SAIS Review – Volume 22, Number 2, Summer-Fall 2002, pp 255–272 and Allan John Anthony, (2001) The Middle East Water Question: Hydropolitics and the Global Economy I.B.Tauris, ISBN 1-86064-813-4 p 220
  38. ^ Ha'aretz 18 October 2006, ‘Environmentalists: New dam may cause Jordan River to dry up’ By Tzafrir Rinat,
  39. ^ [1]
  40. ^ [2]
  41. ^ a b c d Syrian Civil War Has Several Environmental Side-effects on Israel and Jordan "The bloody civil war in Syria has had a number of unintended environmental side-effects, one of which was revealed last week: A steep reduction in agricultural activity in the southern part of the country. As a result, farmers have used much less water from natural sources and much more water now flows in the Yarmouk River, the largest tributary of the Jordan River."
  42. ^ Fromkin, David (1989). A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East. New York: Owl, ISBN 0-8050-6884-8.
  43. ^ a b MacMillan, Margaret (2001) Peacemakers: The Paris Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War J. Murray, ISBN 0-7195-5939-1 pp 392–420
  44. ^ Shapira, Anita (1999) Land and Power; The Zionist Resort to Force, 1881–1948. Stanford University press, ISBN 0-8047-3776-2 pp 98–110
  45. ^ Exchange of Notes Archived 9 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Constituting an Agreement respecting the boundary line between Syria and Palestine from the Mediterranean to El Hammé. Paris, 7 March 1923.
  46. ^ Wilson John F (2004) Ibid pp 177–178
  47. ^ Australian Government Australian war memorials department, Official Histories – Second World War Volume II – Greece, Crete and Syria (1st edition, 1953)
  48. ^ Australian Government, Australian war memorials department, Official Histories – Second World War Volume II – Greece, Crete and Syria (1st edition, 1953), Chapter 16, The Syrian Plan, See Map p 334
  49. ^ Fectio
  50. ^ Wilson John F (2004) ISBN 1-85043-440-9, p 178 Syria claimed that France’s signature on the border agreement was invalid, but the British would not discuss the situation. A ‘Demilitarised zone’ was created at the three disputed points along the border, one of which was the territory around Banias, with Syria withdrawing troops, but continuing to lay claim to the territory within the zone. Thus from the beginning of the Syrian state to the Six-Day War, there was no settled border.
  51. ^ Shlaim, Avi (2000) The Iron Wall; Israel and the Arab World Penguin Books, ISBN 978-0-14-028870-4 p 69
  52. ^ Syria Israel Armistice Agreement UN Doc S/1353 20 July 1949
  53. ^ FAO (Water Resources section) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 April 2008. Retrieved 2011-04-26. 

    Overall, there are about 40 major streams in Lebanon and, based on the hydrographic system, the country can be divided into five regions: …[including] the Hasbani river basin in the south-east.

  54. ^ UNU The Jordan River [3]

    The Dan spring, the largest of the sources of the upper Jordan, lies wholly within Israel close to the border with Syria. The spring sources of the Hasbani River lie entirely within Lebanon. The spring source of the Banias River is in Syria. These three small streams unite 6 km inside Israel at about 70 m above sea level to form the upper Jordan River.

  55. ^ UNU The Jordan River [4]
  56. ^ MERIP Heightened Israeli-Lebanese Tensions Over Jordan's Headwaters [5]
  57. ^ Managing water for peace in the Middle East
  58. ^ Lebanon (FAOWater Resources section)"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 April 2008. Retrieved 2011-04-26. 

    Lebanon being at a higher elevation than its neighbours has practically no incoming surface water flow…. Surface water flow to Israel is estimated at 160 million m³/year, of which about 138 million m³ through the Hasbani river including a contribution of 30 million m³ from its tributary, the Wazzani spring.

  59. ^ MERIP Heightened Israeli-Lebanese Tensions Over Jordan's Headwaters [6]

    In the hot summer months, the Wazzani springs are the only source of flowing water in the Hasbani. Upstream from the Wazzani, the river is dry.

  60. ^ MERIP Heightened Israeli-Lebanese Tensions Over Jordan's Headwaters [7]
  61. ^ Harik, Judith Palmer (2005) Hezbollah: The Changing Face of Terrorism I.B.Tauris, ISBN 1-84511-024-2 p 159
  62. ^ a b Cronin, Patrick M. (2008) The Evolution of Strategic Thought Routledge, ISBN 0-415-45961-3 p 189
  63. ^ LA Times Over Israeli Objections, Lebanon Opens Pumping Station on River 29 March 2001
  64. ^ BBC 28 March 2002. Lebanon hails 'liberation of water'
  65. ^ BBC 10 September 2002. Israel warns of war over water
  66. ^ BBC 16 September 2002. US wades into Mid-East water dispute
  67. ^ BBC 17 September 2002. Israel hardens stance on water.
  68. ^ Fred Pearce (2007) When the Rivers Run Dry: Water, the Defining Crisis of the Twenty-first Century Beacon Press, ISBN 0-8070-8573-1 p 169
  69. ^ Jewish agency for Israel
  70. ^ The first Arab summit conference ratified the Arab strategy to thwart Israel’s NWC Plan [drainage of the Hula marshes]. The strategy was designed to divert [2 out of the 3 of] Jordan’s tributaries [Hasbani, Banias] and prepare the Arab armies for the defence of the engineering operations. Shemesh, Moshe (2008) Arab Politics, Palestinian Nationalism and the Six Day War: The Crystallization of Arab Strategy and Nasir's Descent to War, 1957–1967 Sussex Academic Press, ISBN 1-84519-188-9 p 67
  71. ^ a b Shlaim, Avi (2000) ibid pp 71–73 The experts concluded that it [draining the Hula marshes] was not just unnecessary but actually damaging to Israel’s agriculture and ecology
  72. ^ a b UN Doc S/2157 Security Council resolution 93 of 18 May 1951: Noting the complaint with regard to the evacuation of Arab residents from the demilitarised zone: (a) Decides that Arab civilians who have been removed from the demilitarised zone by the Government of Israel should be permitted to return forthwith to their homes and that the Mixed Armistice Commission should supervise their return and rehabilitation in a manner to be determined by the Commission; (b) Holds that no action involving the transfer of persons across international frontiers, across armistice lines or within the demilitarised zone should be undertaken without prior decision of the Chairman of the Mixed Armistice Commission;
  73. ^ Shlaim, Avi (2000) ibid p 75
  74. ^ a b Shlaim, Avi (2000) Ibid pp 75–76 At the eighth meeting on 13 April, the Syrian delegates seemed very anxious to move forward and offered Israel around 70% of the DMZ’s. Significant results were achieved and a number of suggestions and summaries put in writing, but they required decisions by the two governments. The Israeli cabinet convened on 26 April to consider the Syrian suggestions for the division of the DMZs. Simha Blass, head of Israel’s Water Planning Authority, was invited to the meeting. Dayan showed Blass the Syrian suggestions on the map. Blass told Dayan that although most of the lands that Israel was expected to relinquish were not suitable for cultivation, the map did not suit Israel’s irrigation and water development plans.... Although phrased in a positive manner, this decision appears to have killed the negotiations. It involved changes to the preliminary accord and new conditions that made it difficult to go forward. At the last two meetings, on 4 and 27 May Israel presented its new conditions. These were rejected by Syria, and the negotiations ended without agreement.... That a set of proposals that had the support of the political and military elite was emasculated because it did not satisfy the requirements of a water expert seems surprising. It suggests lack of leadership and lack of statesmanship on Ben Gurion's part when it came to the crunch. In the final analysis, it was Israel's insistence on exclusive and unfettered rights over the lakes and the Jordan river that seems to have upset the apple cart. An opportunity for an agreement with a major adversary existed and was allowed to slip away. Yet the fact that the negotiations came so close to success is in itself significant because it shows that, contrary to popular Israeli perceptions, Syria was capable of behaving in a practical, pragmatic and constructive fashion. There was definitely someone to talk to on the other side.
  75. ^ Haddadin, Munther J. (2006) Water Resources in Jordan: Evolving Policies for Development, the Environment, and Conflict Resolution Resources for the Future, ISBN 1-933115-32-7 p 239
  76. ^ State of Israel Ministry of the Environment Conservation of Wetlands in Israel, Israel National Report on the Implementation of the Ramsar Convention February 1999
  77. ^ UN Doc S 3182 UN Security Council Resolution 100 of 27 October 1953
  78. ^ a b c Sosland, Jeffrey (2007) Cooperating Rivals: The Riparian Politics of the Jordan River Basin SUNY Press, ISBN 0-7914-7201-9 p 70
  79. ^ UN Doc S/4271 Letter dated 25 February 1960 from the representative of Israel to the President of the Security Council 25 February 1960
  80. ^ a b c United Nations University In 1955 the Unified (Johnston) Plan to develop a multilateral approach to water management failed to be ratified, which reinforced unilateral development. Nevertheless, both Jordan and Israel undertook to operate within their allocations, and two major successful projects were undertaken: the Israeli National Water Carrier and Jordan's East Ghor Main Canal.... Design of the East Ghor canal was begun by Jordan in 1957. It was intended as the first section of a much more ambitious plan known as the Greater Yarmouk project. Additional sections included (1) construction of two Dams on the Yarmouk (Mukheiba and Maqarin) for storage and hydroelectricity, (2) construction of a 47-km West Ghor canal, together with a siphon across the Jordan River near wadi Faria to connect it with the East Ghor Canal, (3) construction of seven dams to utilise seasonal flow on side wadis flowing into the Jordan, and (4) construction of pumping stations, lateral canals, and flood protection and drainage facilities. In the original Greater Yarmouk project the East Ghor Canal was scheduled to provide only 25% of the total irrigation scheme.... Construction of the Canal began in 1959. By 1961 its first section was completed; sections two and three, down Wadi Zarqa, were in service by June 1966. Shortly before completion of the Israeli Water Carrier in 1964, an Arab summit conference decided to try to thwart it. Discarding direct military attack, the Arab states chose to divert the Jordan headwaters. Two options were considered: either the diversion of the Hasbani to the Litani and the diversion of the Banias to the Yarmouk, or the diversion of both the Hasbani and the Banias to the Yarmouk. The latter was chosen, with the diverted waters to be stored behind the Mukhaiba dam.... The Arabs started work on the Headwater Diversion Project in 1965. Israel declared that it would regard such diversion as an infringement of its sovereign rights. According to the estimates completion of the project would have deprived Israel of 35% of its contemplated withdrawal from the upper Jordan, constituting one ninth of Israel's annual water budget. Murakami, Masahiro (1995) Managing Water for Peace in the Middle East: Alternative Strategies, ISBN 92-808-0858-3 pp 295–297
  81. ^ University of Haifa The National Water Carrier By Shmuel Kantor
  82. ^ The UNRWA commissioned a plan for the development of the Jordan River; this became widely known as “The Johnston plan”. The plan was modelled on the Tennessee Valley Authority development plan for the development of the Jordan River as a single unit. Greg Shapland, (1997) Rivers of Discord: International Water Disputes in the Middle East C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, ISBN 1-85065-214-7 p 14
  83. ^ Moshe Gat (2003). Britain and the Conflict in the Middle East, 1964-1967: The Coming of the Six-Day War. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 101. ISBN 978-0-275-97514-2. Retrieved 7 September 2013. [on 1965]Nasser too, assured the American under Secretary of state, Philip Talbot, that the Arabs would not exceed the water quotas prescribed by the Johnston plan 
  84. ^ Historical Developmental Plans of the Jordan River Basin
  85. ^ Sosland, Jeffrey (2007) Cooperating Rivals: The Riparian Politics of the Jordan River Basin SUNY Press, ISBN 0-7914-7201-9 p 45
  86. ^ Sosland, Jeffrey (2007) Cooperating Rivals: The Riparian Politics of the Jordan River Basin SUNY Press, ISBN 0-7914-7201-9 p 52
  87. ^ McCaffrey, Stephen C. (2001) The Law of International Watercourses: Non-navigational Uses, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-825787-2 pp 271–274
  88. ^ Masahiro Murakami (1995). Managing Water for Peace in the Middle East; Alternative Strategies. United Nations University Press. p. 296. ISBN 978-92-808-0858-2. Retrieved 15 July 2013. Shortly before completion of the Israeli Water Carrier in 1964, an Arab summit conference decided to try to thwart it. Discarding direct military attack, the Arab states chose to divert the Jordan headwater...According to neutral assessments, the scheme was only marginally feasible; it was technically difficult and expensive......Political considerations cited by the Arabs in rejecting the 1955 Johnston Plan were revived to justify the diversion scheme. Particular emphasis was placed on the Carrier's capability to enhance Israel's capacity to absorb immigrants to the detriment of Palestinian refugees. 
  89. ^ a b c Shlaim, Avi (200) ibid pp 229–230 In January 1964 an Arab League summit meeting convened in Cairo. The main item on the agenda was the threat posed by Israel's diversion of water from the north to irrigate the south and the expected reduction in the water supplies available to Syria and Jordan. The reaction of the summit to this threat was deadly serious. The preamble to its decision stated,
    The establishment of Israel is the basic threat that the Arab nation in its entirety has agreed to forestall. And Since the existence of Israel is a danger that threatens the Arab nation, the diversion of the Jordan waters by it multiplies the dangers to Arab existence. Accordingly, the Arab states have to prepare the plans necessary for dealing with the political, economic and social aspects, so that if necessary results are not achieved, collective Arab military preparations, when they are not completed, will constitute the ultimate practical means for the final liquidation of Israel.
  90. ^ The diversion consisted of:-
    1. Diversion of tributaries in Lebanon.
    A The upper Hasbani- the excavation of a canal from the Hasbani springs in the hasbaya region and a canal from the wadi Shab’a for carrying water to the kawkaba tunnels and from there to the Litani River. (This project would transport 40–60 million cubic metres of water annually).
    B. The Middle hasbani-two diversion points-the first in the hasbani riverbed; the second in wadi Sarid. The Hasbani and Sarid would flow in a canal to the Banias and from there to the Yarmuk. According to the plan, 20–30 million cubic metres of water would flow annually to Syria (if Lebanon did not divert the hasbani’s floodwater to the Litani, the Sarid canal could transport up to 60 million cubic metres of water a year).
    C. The Wazani Spring in the Lower Hasbani Riverbed-this would include an irrigation canal (carrying 16 million cubic metres of water a year) for local use in Lebanon; an irrigation canal in Syria (8 million cubic metres a year); and three pumping units to transport the Wanzani’s overflow to Syria via the Sarid-Banias canal at a rate of 26 million cubic metres a year.
    2. Diversions in Syrian territory
    A. Diversion of the Banias-The diversion plan for the Banias called for a 73 kilometre long canal to be dug 350 metres above sea level that would link the banias with the Yamuk. The canal would carry the Banias’s fixed flow plus the overflow from the hasbani (including water from the Sarid and Wazani). The Banias diversion would provide 90 million cubic metres of water for irrigation of riverine areas. The designers calculated that eighteen months would be sufficient for executing the plan. The cost was estimated at five million pounds sterling (including two tunnels), that is, approximately two million pounds more than the Arab plan.
    B. The butayha Project-The Syrians feared that if the Arabs implemented their diversion plan, Israel would block the batayha Valley inhabitants, annual pumping of 22 million cubic metres from the Jordan as proposed in the Johnston plan. In order to guarantee the villagers their vital water supply, the Arab plan contained a proviso designed to incorporate primary and secondary canals from the Sea of Galilee.
    3. The water plans in Jordan.
    The construction of a dam in the Kingdom of Jordan (the Mukheiba dam on the Yarmuk River) was designed to hold 200 million cubic metres of water. Work on the dam would take 30 months at a cost of ten and one quarter million pounds sterling. The Mukheiba Dam (and the Makarin Dam) would hurt Israel if it was incorporated into the diversion plans for the Jordan River’s northern sources, and without the Mukheiba dam all of the diverted water would flow back to the Yarmuk and return to the Jordan’s riverbed south of the Sea of galilee. Excluding this plan, the rest of the Jordan’s water projects correspond with the main parts of the Johnson Plan.
    Shemesh, Moshe (2008) Arab Politics, Palestinian Nationalism and the Six Day War: The Crystallization of Arab Strategy and Nasir's Descent to War, 1957–1967 Sussex Academic Press, ISBN 1-84519-188-9 pp 49–50
  91. ^ Political Thought and Political History: Studies in Memory of Elie Kedourie By Elie Kedourie, M. Gammer, Joseph Kostiner, Moshe Shemesh, Routledge, (2003) ISBN 0-7146-5296-2 p 165

Further reading[edit]

  • Spiegel, Steven L. (1985) The Other Arab-Israeli Conflict: Making America's Middle East Policy, from Truman to Reagan University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0-226-76962-3

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°14′55″N 35°39′09″E / 33.24861°N 35.65250°E / 33.24861; 35.65250