A Multi-Faceted Problem

Aside from the acts of violence committed by both sides and the political struggles surrounding refugees and international law, there are multiple other problems within the Israel and Palestine conflict as well. Geography brings in a host of other issues to the table. For example, water is a precious commodity in the dry Middle East. To date, Israel has been receiving water from two large underground aquifers; the sources of its water are from shared groundwater basins below both West Bank and Israel, leading to some controversy about the use of this water and how it should be distributed between Israelis and Palestinians. Israel consumes most of the water but it also supplies to the West Bank and contributes to 77% of its water supply. The Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement has laid out a water solution which continues to be honored by both parties but which some Palestinians argue is only a temporary solution and that the problem must still be resolved. Currently, Palestine has established the legality of Israeli water production in the West Bank and Israel has agreed to supplement Palestinian production and allow Palestinians to drill in the Eastern aquifer. The agreement also allows Palestine to explore and drill for natural gas, fuel and petroleum within its territory. Any modifications to this agreement and further progress in Israeli and Palestinian water operations will require much financing. Planning and organization by government agencies on both sides will also be needed. It should also be noted that water is not the only utility that has contributed to the conflict. There has also been controversy surrounding Israel’s import-export ban that it imposed on Gaza in 2007 which has resulted in unemployment, poverty and a cut in the flow of fuel and electricity to Gaza in what Jeremy Hobbs, director of Oxfam International, called an “inhuman and illegal siege.”

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