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Israel, Jordan, Palestinians ink water-sharing deal
Published Tuesday 10/12/2013 (updated) 11/12/2013 12:59
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Palestinian-Israelis swim in the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel on
Sept. 2, 2011 (AFP/File Menahem Kahana)
WASHINGTON (AFP) -- Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians signed a historic water-sharing initiative at the World Bank in Washington Monday that could protect water resources in the region amid rising demand.

The project envisions a new desalination plant at Aqaba as the lynchpin of a sharing deal involving end-users in all three parties to the deal.

"It gives a glimmer of hope that we can overcome more obstacles in the future," said Silvan Shalom, Israel's Minister of Energy and Water Resources at the signing.

"We showed that we can work together despite the political problems," said the Palestinian water minister, Shaddad Attili.

The deal capped 11 years of negotiations and came as the United States pushes a new effort to forge a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians.

The pact, signed at the World Bank's headquarters in Washington, will see Jordan providing 50 million cubic liters of desalinated water to Israel's Red Sea resort of Eilat.

In exchange, the Israel will provide northern Jordan with the same amount of water from the Sea of Galilee.

It will also see Israel raising its annual sales of water to the Palestinian Authority by 20-30 million cubic meters a year, up from the current level of 52 million cubic meters.

The World Bank said the project is "limited in scale and designed to accomplish two objectives: to provide new water to a critically water short region; and the opportunity, under scientific supervision, to better understand the consequences of mixing Red Sea and Dead Sea waters."

According to Shalom, the project will go to international tender, to build the desalination plant in Aqaba and lay the first of the four pipes for transporting the water.

An environmental group, Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME), said the project as outlined has significant problems, including the handling of the brine from the desalination plant. The plan envisions experimenting with mixing the brine with water in the Dead Sea.

Gidon Bromberg, Israeli director of the group, noted that World Bank studies had found that introducing Red Sea brine could have "detrimental impacts" on the Dead Sea's fragile ecosystem.

"It will also increase the cost of desalinating water in Aqaba by 30 percent, and it will maintain the protest of the environmental groups," he said.
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1 ) shirley / australia
10/12/2013 12:38
why should idiot palestinians have to buy their own recources off isreal while Isreal staeals all of it what ajoke are you people for real the pa are doing nothing along with the US zionist controlled world bank but complicating the occupation and pals recources digging in deeper just like the f paris agreement and pals may need to get gaza back to 48 size that runs up aquaba as trade for right of return to join west bank gaza and cede part jordan for this forget tunnels isreal will never allow

2 ) Justice & Only Justice / Palestine
10/12/2013 14:13
Mr Abbas: As you know, the Palestinian Authority buys the Palestinian stolen water from Israeli occupiers. How comes, PA which it doesn't have control over its water in Palestine and is unable to dig a small cistern without a military permit from Israeli-war criminals and at the same time PA signs an agreement for Dead Sea-Red Sea canal? Does PA work for the benefits of Israeli-war criminals? Mr President: Where are you?

3 ) Colin Wright / USA
10/12/2013 18:25
ANOTHER agreement for Israel to violate! How exciting. ...and it is awfully generous of Israel to offer to sell the Palestinian Authority more of the water that is Palestinian in the first place.
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