Jordan River Basin
The peace process and its relation to water
Introduction: the Middle East peace process
The Madrid Conference in October/November 1991 initiated a series of bilateral and multilateral tracks towards peace and stability in the Middle East in general, and between Israel and its neighbours.
Presently, the bilateral track prooved only successful with regard to Jordan,
with which Israel signed a peace agreement in 1994. Water played an important
part in the conclusion of the peace.
During the so-called Oslo peace process, a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian water conflict was postponed to negotiations that would lead to a final solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as such. As we know now, the series of bilateral agreements between Israel and the PLO / Palestinian Authority, starting with the Declaration of Principles in 1993 and already in a stalemate after the signing of the Interim Agreement in 1995, prooved no sustainable base for peace in the region.
Open bilateral talks between Israel and Libanon or Syria - including the shared water resources - are officially non-existing.
The Multilateral track resulted in a special Water resources Workgroup, next to other groups on security, refugees, economic development and environment.
Israel and the Palestinians: major agreements and evolutions
- Joint Israel-Palestinian Call to Protect Water Supply during the current Intifadah (31/01/2001)
- Israeli-Palestinian Joint Statement, Taba (27/1/2001).
- Camp David II
- The Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum on Implementation Timeline of Outstanding Commitments of Agreements Signed and the Resumption of Permanent Status Negotiations (September 4, 1999).
- The Wye Plantation Memorandum (October 23, 1998).
- The Israeli Palestinian
Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (September 28, 1995),
with 7 annexes: redeployment and security arrangements, elections, civil
affairs, legal matters, economic relations, Israeli Palestinian co-operation
programmes, prisoners and detainees.
For water-related issues: see Annex III, article 40.
- Protocol on the further transfer of powers and responsibilities (August 27, 1995).
- Agreement on preparatory transfer of powers and responsibilities (August 29, 1994)
agreement (May 4, 1994), with 4 annexes: military and security, civil
affairs, legal affairs, economy.
Water-related issues: Annex II, article 2, partim 31: "Water and sewage"; partim 35: "Environmental protection".
- Declaration of principles on interim self-government arrangements (September 13, 1993).
Israel and Jordan: major agreements and evolutions
- The follow-up of everyday's Israeli-Jordanian water issues (1999-2001).
- Israel and Jordan mark fourth year of peace (26 October 1998): excerpt about water.
- The Treaty of peace between the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordania, with 5 annexes: international boundaries, water related matters, combating crime and drugs, environment, bording crossing procedures, and agreed minutes.
In this Treaty, Israel promised to transfer a yearly amount of 50 million m³ water to Jordan. Problems arose during the implementation of the agreement, and Jordanian dissatisfaction led to a mini-crisis in May 1997. New bilateral negotiations resulted on 27th May 1997 in an agreement in which Israel promised to transfer an additional amount of 75 million m³ high quality fresh water to Jordan during three years.
In March 1999, new tensions arose when Israel decided to decrease its amount of water transferred to Jordan with 60%.
Israel and Syria
Proceed to the special section with updates on internal and foreign water politics of Israel, Jordan, Palestine and Syria. With special attention to the summer water shortages and an archive on previous droughts:"Water shortage in the Jordan River basin": some background on the summer crisises of 1998, 1999, 2000 and the predicted crisis of 2001 (March 2001).
Drôle de guerre?. The Israeli-Lebanese water conflict of September 2002.
Multilateral negotiations: the water resources workgroup
- Information on the Water reources working group as part of the Multilateral Negotiations (website Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
- Agreement for the creation of the Middle East Desalination Research Center (Muskat, December 22, 1996).
- Meeting of the multilateral working group on water resources, Hammamet, Tunisia (May 16, 1996).
- Declaration on principles for cooperation on water-related matters and new and additional water resources (Oslo, February 13, 1996).
- Meeting of the multilateral working groups on water resources and the environment, Amman, Jordan (June 22, 1995).
- Meeting of the multilateral working group on water resources, Vouliagmeni, Greece (November 9, 1994).
- Meeting of the multilateral working group on water resources, Manama, Bahrein, (October 25-26, 1994).
- Meeting of the multilateral working group on water resources, Muscat, Oman (April 17-19, 1994).