Sunday, June 23

Does Kushner's Palestine Deal of the Century take water into account?

See also:

Ticking time bomb: The water crisis which threatens chances for peace in the Middle East; January 21; (U.K.Independent. (Fifth in a series, "Water Wars.")

Yesterday the Thomson Reuters Foundation news page published an exclusive Reuters report, White House's Kushner unveils economic portion of Middle East peace plan:
The White House on Saturday outlined a $50 billion Middle East economic plan that would create a global investment fund to lift the Palestinian and neighboring Arab state economies, and fund a $5 billion transportation corridor to connect the West Bank and Gaza.
The "peace to prosperity" plan, set to be presented by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner at an international conference in Bahrain next week, includes 179 infrastructure and business projects, according to details of the plan and interviews with U.S. officials.
More than half of the $50 billion would be spent in the economically troubled Palestinian territories over 10 years while the rest would be split between Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan. Some of the projects would be in Egypt's Sinai peninsula, where investments could benefit Palestinians living in adjacent Gaza, a crowded and impoverished coastal enclave.
The plan also proposes nearly a billion dollars to build up the Palestinians' tourism sector ...

The plan sounds pie-in-the-sky to Palestinians; it sounds the same to me unless the infrastructure projects put water first and foremost, and there's no indication of that as yet. 

Not that I like being a wet blanket, but for Mr Kushner's benefit, the Palestinian territories have been experiencing a severe water crisis with Gaza the worst and the West Bank not far behind. Resolving this crisis, or even making a stab at, will be incredibly expensive.

The Israelis have their side of the story but that's the point: it's two sides pointing fingers at each other, and meanwhile, the water crisis keeps getting rose.

I can't remember which year I first reported on the crisis -- could've been 2013 or a few years earlier, but here are quotes from an opinion piece at Gulf News, dated Apri 30, 2019, which will bring you up to speed: Water Crisis is Poisoning Palestine; the piece is based on a WHO report released in March of this year. Bottom line:
WHO indicated that 97 per cent of water pumped from Gaza’s aquifer, which is depleting at a rapid rate, fails to meet the minimum standards of quality for potable water.

In fact, the very sustainability of the Gaza Strip’s basin is now in jeopardy. WHO findings further confirm a previous United Nations report that Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020.

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