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How the contours of fresh water help to shape the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

The Six-Day War of 1967, in which Israel defeated and captured new territories from the neighbouring states of Egypt (then the United Arab Republic), Jordan and Syria, was partially precipitated by disputes over Israel’s access to the Jordan River. The end of the war marked the beginning of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Today, Israel claims rights to all the water resources between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, with the exception of one coastal aquifer in the West Bank, where Israel controls 80 per cent of water resources and Palestinians receive 20 per cent. The tense situation is further aggravated by what Palestinians believe is price-gouging and aggressive military protection of Israel’s surplus by the Israeli government.

Water Valley, a brief portrait of the modern Israeli-Palestinian water-resources conflict, follows a Palestinian farmer in the Jordan Valley as he steers water from an Israeli pump that he claims would otherwise be wasted, and recounts tense confrontations with Israeli authorities over water access. Although short, the film illuminates how clean water, taken for granted in some part of the globe, can shape geopolitical conflicts in others – a problem that can be further exacerbated by climate change in the future.

Director: Kate Stonehill

Producers: Rana Khaled al Khatib, Anna Van Hollen, Melanie Fridgant, Mohamed Jaradat

23 January 2018

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