By Charmaine Seitz
As temperatures in the West Bank hover just above 100 degrees, water is on everyone's mind. Three years of scant rain have dried out the area and now a previously scarce resource has become paltry.
But reports of the drought's severity pale in comparison with preliminary studies showing that crucial Palestinian water resources, as accorded by
Israeli-Palestinian agreements, are already overexploited. The United States, in an overzealous effort to provide Palestinians with water and improve the climate for peacemaking, may be partly at fault.
When Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, all control of local water resources was turned over to the Israeli military administration. By the time Palestinians and Israel signed an initial peace agreement in 1993, the Israeli water carrier was pumping 80 percent of underground reserves to Israeli citizens in Israel and the West Bank settlements. The rest of the water resources were channeled to Palestinians, allotting them only one third of Israeli per capita use.