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Middle East

The Jordan River Dead Sea Basin watershed encompasses Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Syria and Lebanon. The route of Expedition Blue Planet in 2009 included the three principal riparian systems: Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

A drought in the West Bank is exacerbating the situation in the already conflict-riddled region. As Israelis experience unprecedented water shortages, residential wells in drought-stricken Palestinian regions continue to dry up due to decreased rainfall and Israel's tightening grip on water use. Parts of major West Bank cities such as Jenin, Hebron, and Bethlehem have experienced a lack of running water for weeks at a time. Even faucets in parts of Ramallah, the occupied West Bank's political hub, which rarely experiences cuts, have been known to go dry for days at a time.

In response to the acute water shortages Palestinian communities face as dry weather strains supplies already restricted by Israel, the International Committee of the Red Cross has had to truck in water for one thousand people and tens of thousands of animals in the worst affected areas of the southern West Bank.

Water is an increasingly scarce resource in the Middle East and is one of the core issues for any Palestinian-Israeli peace accord. Arguments are complex, yet many people consider generating cooperation and diplomacy around this key issue a priority. As our partner the Arava Institute demonstrates with their joint environmental programs for both Arabs and Jews, rather than being a source of conflict, water might become a motivation for people to work together to solve problems common to all humanity.