We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Wednesday, October 24. 2012
Don Harrison is the editor of the San Diego Jewish World, widely influential in this area and widely read elsewhere. Don Harrison is what I have often called him, "an open-minded liberal." Indeed, he has often published me! He is thoroughly politically liberal, and can be counted upon to with very rare exception endorse the Democrat candidate for any office. However, in the case of Romney Vs Obama, Harrison tells me that he agonized for a long time. The deciding factors for Harrison are that Obama can't be trusted to be a firm supporter of Israel in its existential danger from the development of Iranian nuclear weapons while Romney can be trusted more, and that domestically Harrison feels that there will be enough constraints on social conservative agendas to avoid the worst fears raised by Democrats during the campaign.
I'll let Don Harrison speak for himself now:
On domestic social issues--
Tracked: Oct 24, 20:22
President Obama and the Jewish vote
Thanks to William Teach, I found this from Jonathan Tobin of Commentary: Quipster Obama Playing a Losing Hand Jonathan S. Tobin | @tobincommentary As I wrote last night, President Obama’s attack mode during the Boca Raton debate seemed to suggest that ...
Weblog: THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL.
Tracked: Oct 24, 20:24
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Romney was governor of Massachusetts. We're still here, and for better or worse we're still as blue as a state can be. Worrying about Romney's conservative agenda is completely ridiculous. For what it's worth, I'm a reaganite and always will be. But, I will hold my nose and vote for Romney anyway. That's right. I plan to step into the voting booth and pinch my nose as I pull the lever for Romney. And I encourage everyone to do the same.
#1 bay state reaganite on 2012-10-24 16:28
Getting the US out of serious economic difficulty isn't enough, nor is correcting a dangerous foreign policy, nor is attacking government corruption sufficient reason to support Romney. But the one issue of Romney's being better for a single foreign nation is sufficient for this Harrison guy.
For myself, insofar as supporting Israel is good for America, I'm wholeheartedly in favor of it. It's obvious that Mr Harrison, on the other hand, would favor Israel against the interests of his own nation. There's a word for that attitude -- treasonous.
Dai, your accusation is downright wrong, aside from grossly insulting. First, it is as much in the US interest as Israel's for Iran to not have nuclear weapons. Should Iran get nuclear weapons that will tilt what remains of US influence in the MiddleEast away toward Iran as the states there cuddle up to the nearby threat to them and the US is observed (even more than now) to be a worthless friend. Second, you are taking out of context Don Harrison's words to accuse him of treason. It is by no means "obvious" that he :would favor Israel against the interests of his own nation." What seems more obvious is, perhaps, you trying to reach an anti-semitic conclusion in this slur.
#2.1 Bruce Kesler on 2012-10-24 17:02
What is also obvious to me is that you jump to make the accusation of "anti-Semitic" when someone disagrees with your conclusions. I object to your misuse of that term. Racially, the Arabs are truer Semites than the Jews, and Arabic is an equally Semitic tongue to Hebrew or Aramaic. You should have accused me of being "anti-Jewish" or "anti-Zionist." I am neither, incidentally, but you would then be at least semantically accurate.
Israel is a useful ally in a generally-hostile area, so it is in America's interest to protect them. But an American should put America's interest before those of another nation. I, for instance, am partly French in descent, but have no intention of voting for Obama because the French love him. You'll note that good old Harrison didn't state any compelling reason to vote for the interests of the US beyond the point of where ours corresponded with Israel's. I, on the other hand, would drop-kick France into the Baltic if my nation's (the US, if you're keeping track) interests demanded it. And unlike him, I don't intend to vote for any left-wing senators or house members because they happen to be French.
Israel chooses to ally with the US because it is in their interests to do so. They were, you might possibly recall, an ally of the USSR before Truman recognized their government, and you may be sure they would dump us in the future if by so doing they could serve their own interests better by cozying-up to someone else. I don't blame them for this; as a small nation in a dangerous position they have little choice.
What I dislike are two things: excess sentimentality and lack of realism in our foreign policies, and Americans who in their heart of hearts bear allegiance to another nation. That would include Harrison, and I can only hope it doesn't include you.
Accusing American Jews of split loyalty is considered as anti-semitism, by for example the US State Dept.'s official definition. Neither I, nor Harrison who I know well, fit that. I understand your point, but Harrison was not writing a treatise on foreign policy but an endorsement aimed at his mostly liberal Jewish audience. For you to take his words out of context or to accuse him not of a sin of commission but of ommision of a point important to you (or me) smacks of falling into a standard anti-semitic canard. I'm glad that you are not anti-Jewish nor anti-Israel, and I do concur with your description of the realpolitik of the situation. But, still, I caution you not to let that take you into semantics that undermine you and your good points.
#220.127.116.11 Bruce Kesler on 2012-10-24 21:24
The problem, Bruce, is not my semantics but yours. You jumped to a faulty conclusion based on a misunderstanding of what I wrote.
As far as the anti-Semitic charge, I consider it laughably misapplied, regardless of what the State Department chooses to conclude. I could as easily accuse you of being anti-Mordvinian based on your criticism of me, or you could accuse me of being anti-black because I consider Barack Obama, America's half-blood prince, to be a narcissistic boob. Such wild and flimsy characterizations don't lead to better understanding.
So please don't do that any more.
There is no misunderstanding of your words (which, BTW, in addition to the US State Dept. the EU's definition of anti-semitism, your accusation of primary loyalty to israel fits into), but not being a mind-reader your later Comment says was not your intent. I suggest that you choose your words more carefully.
As to Moldavians, my specific criticism of your words does not in any way refer to you as a Moldavian, if you are, or to any other Moldavians. So, you might also better choose your words in this respect as well.
#18.104.22.168.1.1 Bruce Kesler on 2012-10-24 21:59
There you go again! I wrote Mordvinian not Moldavian. There IS a difference, you anti-whatever you are.
As far as the State Department, the European Union, or Mother Jones' Basic Grammar of Political Correctness, I defy them all. If you keep citing questionable guides to right-speak I'll be forced to conclude that you consider certain persons above criticism simply by virtue of race or religion. Are you sure that's what you wish to imply?
This isn't about different pronunciations of tomato. If you choose to "defy" definitions of the Western world, then that is your choice, but it makes a conversation impossible.
#22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Bruce Kesler on 2012-10-24 22:28
Thank Heaven! I was beginning to think you'd never see the futility of your inane arguments from authority, using authorities which you yourself would disparage at the drop of a beret should they disagree with your fondly-held biases.
Shame on you for your vicious, anti-Semitic insertion into this discussion. President Obama has told the Russians he would be more flexible after the election. He has removed his defense shield from Poland and Czechoslovakia. He has unilaterally cut our nuclear capability. He has turned Iraq into an Iranian oriented nation…. and the list goes on and on
#2.2 ACTIVE DUTY ARMY GENERAL on 2012-10-25 01:38
Don't get excited, gen'rul, Don Harrison is cool wiith all these failures of Obama. There's only one point on which Harrison disagrees with The One.
Add me, Christian and a deacon in his church, to those who believe that you are anti-Semitic.
#2.3 ACTIVE DUTY ARMY GENERAL on 2012-10-25 01:41
I think he's a fool on those local elections. Feinstein, indeed.
#3 Sam L. on 2012-10-24 20:38
"So, reluctantly..." Meaning, I suppose, were it not for the fact that B.O. sh*t on Israel time an time again,I would have remained a knee jerk fellow traveler.
#4 Chazz on 2012-10-24 23:01
I believe the time has come to re-consider some of the terms of the relationship between US and Israel. It cannot continue as it has in the past. A new look at how we treat one another will certainly create a more balanced and probably a more peaceful situation in the mid east. Israel has not been honest with the American people on many issues. We have been the primary source of cash for the people of Israel for years and we have earned a greater level of transparency and respect from them for our efforts. I believe that one of the most self-destructive tools that has ever been created is the "Anti Semitic" law. Forcing people to live in fear of exactly which words they should/should not use does garner loyalty. While I support Israel's right to self defense there is much that Israel needs to atone for that has occurred in the past 60 years. (Is that anti-semitic?)
#5 faculty wife on 2012-10-25 00:32
We have been the primary source of cash for the people of Israel for years..
According to the CIA World Factbook, Israel's GDPper capita [PPP],$31,400 (2011 est.), was 42 nd in the world. Yeah, Israel is a basket case dependent on US largesse. Tell me another one.
With neighbors like Hamas and Hezbollah dedicated to the destruction of Israel, and you say?
I am a Goy boy.
#5.1 Gringo on 2012-10-25 07:32
Dang it! I intended to type "does NOT garner loyalty". Please correct. Thank you
#6 faculty wife on 2012-10-25 00:34
Although you have a fact wrong ("primary source of cash" should be "primary source of foreign cash, which is then mostly spent in the US on defense purchases") and if you "live in fear" it is only if you use anti-semitic phrases (which in your Comments over the years here I haven't witnessed), NO your critique of Israel (your view that Israel has things to apologize for) is NOT anti-semitic. It's a viewpoint that is not couched in ascribing "apartheid", "Nazi", or blood libel to israel, or "dual loyalty" to Americans who support Israel or are Jewish, for examples.
#7 Bruce Kesler on 2012-10-25 00:42
Dear Mr. Kessler. I thank you. In spite of what has happened to us personally--I refuse to succumb to anti semitism. HOWEVER, you must understand that living in the academic world as I have it has occurred to me that there is change underfoot--a cultural shift. I believe you too are becoming aware of this. Transparency and equal protection/prosecution under the law of this land will protect your people and prevent the rest of the world from repeating the same horrific crimes of the past. One of the commenters here several months ago said that the Jewish community tends to be quick in circling the wagons--a true observation,though an understandable reflex. I do not believe Iran should have nuclear capability--I do not believe they can be trusted. However, Israel must not use this current threat as an excuse to lie to the people of America about other issues.
#8 faculty wife on 2012-10-25 00:56
"However, Israel must not use this current threat as an excuse to lie to the people of America about other issues."
That's very vague. What do you think they lying about?
#8.1 EarlW on 2012-10-25 01:17
I don't get it --the editor makes a ground-breaking move to break down a tradition among a people for whom tradition has been the life-or-death identity survival mechanism for three or four thousand years, and does he get a welcoming pat on the back from his new poilitical allies? Nah, we wave a loyalty oath in his face and tell him he ought to sign it, because, well, he ought to understand, he's a Jew.
Man, that's some 'big tent'.
#9 buddy larsen on 2012-10-25 01:14
My criticism of Harrison is based not on his being a Jew but his being a progressive jackass, only straying from his lifelong creed because of Obama's policy "weakness" in one area. He makes as much sense as those folks who vote for Romney only because they share his Mormon beliefs. Harrison shows no sign whatsoever of making any "ground-breaking move" toward conservatism or even RINOism.
His issue has nothing to do with the facts that our economy is in danger of collapse, that our foreign policy is shaky not merely in the Middle East but world-wide, that our military readiness is threatened, or that our government is trending toward totalitarian control of citizens.
BTW, I have a lesbian acquaintance who despises everything Obama is and stands for, yet is voting for him because of his recent approval of homosexual "marriage." I think she makes every bit as much sense as does Harrison.
Yessir, i well understand how barren the landscape is when you pull it in real close and start categorizing the detritus. It's a mess, as is the inside of someone else's head when one climbs in and starts gathering impressions of the world in there.
--and it's a fact, it is very hard to discern which vantage point is the 'right' one. For example, you could climb a tree and get a longer view and a larger picture, or make an instructive analogy.
Say you're from Delaware, and that for sixty-five years the natives of the other 56 states plus Canada and Mexico have declared themselves in a war to break up Delaware, and shove you and your family (made up in part or whole of the one out of three that made it out of Europe alive before the 65 yr clock started) into the sea if not just kill you where you stand.
Now hold that picture for a sec, and let someone else stroll up to you, as you hunker there in your trench rifle ready awaiting the next onslaught.
This person is right in the middle of the battlefield, standing on the embankment you can't peek over without getting shot in the head, but he's cool and calm, wearing a Tom Wolfe ice-cream suit and sipping a mint julep.
He starts telling you all the things wrong with you, and how you need to change this and change that, quit your trench and go home, maybe go home to central europe, you know, because, well, you wouldn't need defensible borders anymore, as this would be a new enlightened era if only you'd trust the world one more time and offer your neck one more time pretty please.
As he speaks, you try to interject in the pauses, "Fine, okay, whatever you say, maybe you have a point --BUT if I move, or look away from the enemy, I and my wife and children and survivor grandpa will be dead in the next five minutes."
And he says, "I'm willing to gamble on that."
And you stare at him, stunned, jaw agape, trying to find the words.
And he adds, "See? You won't pay your fair share for world peace."
#9.1.1 buddy larsen on 2012-10-25 02:56
Commenters are bringing a multitude of what I consider side issues into this discussion. The initial point was, does Don Harrison consider himself to owe primary loyalty to America or to Israel?
He's able to overlook Obama's enthusiasm for abortion and infant exposure, able to overlook the destruction of the economy and weakening of the military, able to accept mismanagement throughout our foreign policy, able to ignore minor peccadilloes such as Fast and Furious. It is only Obama's attitude toward Israel that seems to count with Don Harrison. If any Irish-American were to take a candidate's position toward Ireland as the only reason for voting we would rightfully laugh at him.
And we have Bruce Kessler taking the position that anyone who argues with a Jew is by definition anti-Semitic. Thus, if one were to cast doubt upon the Theory of Relativity, one must be anti-Semitic. If one were to denigrate the politics of George Soros, one must be anti-Semitic. If one were to despise Bill Maher's attempts at humor...
You very obviously, and increasingly obviously, fail to understand common words and agreed concepts in the Western world. That's your choice, and is labeled accordingly.
#188.8.131.52.1 Bruce Kesler on 2012-10-25 11:07
You begin to make me think you're a one-issue guy just like Harrison. Let me expand my views on Israel.
I believe Israel has every right to protect its interests by any reasonable means, including expanding its territory at the expense of an active enemy. I believe the US should recognize Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel, and disavow the fairytale that Mohamed ascended to Paradise from the temple mount, or that he, in fact, ever visited Jerusalem. I believe the US should, if necessary, both defend and share in an attempt by Israel to take out the Iranian nuke program. I believe the US should do everything feasible to destroy Hezbollah and other anti-American terrorist organizations.
I believe these things, Bruce, not because of a love of Israel or the Israelis nor even admiration for their courage but because, unlike Don Harrison, my primary loyalty is to America and the interests of the United States. I expect to hold these and similar views until the interests of America and Israel no longer coincide.
I further believe that you put on your anti-Semitic glasses every morning, and probably often wear them to bed at night. You ought to try a new prescription some day.
I'm glad to hear that we're on the same side of the table as to the agreement of US and Israeli goals, and are both realists about them. I am not glad to be called myopic or one-eyed, and my long public record shows that. Similarly, I personally know Don Harrison's long record, which you don't, so your jump to characterize him as having primary loyalty to Israel over the US based on your perception of his endorsement is unfair and wrong. It's as simple as that, and your continued insistance that what you see is true and what others don't is false is indicative of poor eyesight on your part, not a unique insight.
#184.108.40.206.1.1.1 Bruce Kesler on 2012-10-25 11:49
Harrison's attitude is plain to anyone not dedicated to self-delusion. And your use of the charge of "anti-Semitic" is little more than a cheap way of attempting to reinforce weak logic.
Sorry to be so harsh, but I call 'em the way I see 'em.
dai, with the 'side issue' label, you've perfectly illustrated the basic communication problem on this issue, the double-standard --in all its forms and applications, starting with the stakes: whose life depends on acknowledging the double-standard versus whose life is privileged not to.
Imagine a philosophical debate on jurisprudence. You rightfully point out that the ideal is to reason from the general to the specific, and your opponent is trying to dwell on the specific issue of capital punishment.
You may be right as far as it goes, but the backstory is that your opponent is standing on a gallows with his hands tied, a rope around his neck, and an executioner has hand on the trapdoor release lever and is looking at his watch. No one seems to know what the executioner's instructions are, but everyone can see him standing there hand on lever and looking at his watch.
Your opponent is begging you to hurry up and get the noose off his neck, for one thing, the noose is skewing the hell out of his debate position, and in response you are addressing the crowd as you answer him, "Sir, is your primary loyalty as it should be, that is, to Robert's Rules of Debate, and to the objective process of finding truth, justice, and the American Way, or are you (note: here you sneer a bit and let your voice drip contempt) only interested in yourself ?"
#220.127.116.11.2 buddy larsen on 2012-10-25 13:18
Your arguments might apply to an Israeli, but I'm operating under the view that the editor of a San Diego publication is an American. Nothing you've had to say so far has any bearing whatsoever on that, unless you believe that Harrison is planning on becoming a resident of Israel.
I am not Vietnamese. Yet I volunteered to serve in the USMC in Vietnam, and returned later as a civilian. The fate of the Vietnamese was important to me and seperate from my loyalty to the US. To this day I work to support the survivors in the South and those who escaped.
#18.104.22.168.2.1.1 Bruce Kesler on 2012-10-25 15:21
Always good to hear from a fellow Marine, Bruce, but unless you intend to offer your vote for President to that man who will do the most for Vietnam, your argument is invalid with regard to Harrison.
Aside from voting for Nixon and Ford, I voted with my life. -- The point is that did not indicate any dual loyalty, nor does Harrison's endorsement. You continue to insist it does, but the more you Comment the less credible you are.
#22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1 Bruce Kesler on 2012-10-25 17:03
There's no doubt that one of us has become less credible with each post, and with each attempt to bring in extraneous matter. Who that one might be is another question. Stick to the point, which is Harrison's loyalty to the US -- not yours or mine or some other third party's. Go ask him, if you wish, whom he would support in the case of an armed conflict between Israel and the US. Ask him whether he believes Americans who act as Israeli spies should be released from prison. If he shows loyalty to the US in his answers, and if you trust those answers, let us know.
Next, ask him why he would ever think of voting for a Muslim sympathizer who seems bent on ruining the US. That, of course, was the original point of contention.
Dai, once again, I have spoken with harrison for 20-years. Your concerns and accusations are wrong and insulting, as is your positing hypotheticals that are ridiculous. - Further, I could be called a "Muslim sympathizer" because of how I feel for so many people living under oppression. The point is that tossing around such accusations may play in your circle but does not in the wider circles that demand more facts that suppositions. Throughout you have made suppositions that are wrong and insulting to Harrison's patriotism, and in effect to mine. -- I'm going to cut off Comments from this thread, as I think you have stated your case, as it be, and do not want to waste my or anyone else's time with you.
#188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1.1.1 Bruce Kesler on 2012-10-25 17:57
That's the framing problem --which do you like better, a tribe that exists in the mainstream of cohesiveness, such as yours or mine, that will have contributed the ordinary amount of intellectual property to the human enterprise, or a tribe that is outside that mainstream by dint of having thought through and put much of the western civilizational concept into writing --commonizing the terms and thus opening up for all to debate (start with the Ten Commandments, that 'how-to' of peace and freedom that across time and space is always just as complex and deep-reaching or just as simple and rote as the seeker is willing and able to comprehend).
A tribe can be one or the other, but it can't be both, because a rule that is proved by exception does leave inexpressible the meaning that was formerly called 'rule'.
Anyhoo, tho the Jews chose to be the latter, anyone can choose to regard them the former --but not without using that double standard.
And one cannot say that a double standard --regardless of effect on the target --does not corrupt the user. One can say so, yes, but to say so is to frame-out enough of the eye witness truth that the double standard rebounds as the self held apart from the ordinary and, inside the dialectic, unable to see that the very genesis of the Jewish problem is --it ain't the Jews.
And never has been, not since the Roman Imperial occupiers crucified that wandering rabbi and then in plain sight got away with scapegoating the occupied people for it.
#220.127.116.11.2.1.2 buddy larsen on 2012-10-25 15:32
If only it were possible for buddy to stick to the subject instead of wandering off into allegory-land.
Sweet J . . . . that is beUtiful buddy !
#10 apple pie on 2012-10-25 10:05
AP, you being a country gal of the open range and wise to the ways of the Great Spirit, your confirmation of the sentiment means an especial lot to the issue at hand --
#10.1 buddy larsen on 2012-10-25 13:41
Yes, but I cannot understand the need to add housing developments in land that does not belong to Israel. . .nor can I understand the Israeli refusal to submit a full reasoning of their actions regarding water and wells to the American public, or to the UN. The Israeli government has been moving to control all water in the region for many years that I know of and they continue to expand. The original agreement establishing Israel does not give them control of Jerusalem--yet, 60 years later they are still demanding that also. If you look at a map of the area you should be able to see that the original piece of land (locked) territory could never survive without access to sea, which they have had since 1967. Viewing today's territories and claims on territories one can easily see that Israel is still pushing toward the sea. . . pushing to control everything from Syria to Egypt from the sea to the eastern border of the original territory. Refusing to acknowledge this is refusing to deal with the real and ongoing situation. As a nation I can understand the need-- as a tribal community . . . that is another story. A detail the world is trying to deal with and for which the world must try to create new solutions. That Israel should exist is an absolute, that Israel has a right to steal from it's neighbors until such time as they are completely controlled . . . that is . . .
During the past 60 years the Israeli stick has been wielded with too heavy a hand and the carrot almost inedible. When will these memories fade ? ? ?
#11 another one on 2012-10-25 10:19
Very simple: Israel accepted original partition, Arab states didn't and attacked. Repeatedly. The areas not originally in Israel were captured by Israel during those defensive wars. They were never recognized as belonging to the surrounding Arab states nor to a mix of Arabs in the area newly called "Palestinians". Israel has repeatedly offered up to 98% of those captured lands on its west in return for peace. Palestinians have rejected that. Israel did leave Gaza and comparatively huge Sinai. Israel is constantly attacked from Gaza, increasingly from Sinai, and was and may be again from West Bank. -- As to water, Syria tried to cut off headwaters of the Jordan River. Instead, since, Israel and Jordan together have been developing it for the benefit of both. -- That still leaves a rock someplace for you to crawl under.
#11.1 Bruce Kesler on 2012-10-25 10:58
Water in the West Bank
Water is key to survival. Its scarcity in the region
makes it a much sought-after commodity, and a major
point in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. This
makes water both a political issue and a humanitarian
one, and a heavily discussed topic in the international
arena. However, the discussion pool is rife with broad
and even conflicting statistics and statements on water.
A geological formation or structure that stores and /or
transmits groundwater, such as to wells and springs.
Fresh Natural Potable Water
Fresh, clean water from a renewable source such as a
lake, spring or aquifer.
Water that is purified and recycled from wastewater.
Seawater or saline water rendered potable by removing
A portion of water made available within a source -
whether it is extracted or not is a separate matter.
Amount of water consumed. Not to be confused with
As the two main bodies that interact with the
Palestinian side on the issue of water, the Civil
Administration and the Israeli Water Authority are the
primary Israeli sources of information on water issues.
This short brief will provide some basic background
facts on the issue, as well as some key information
about the situation in the West Bank today.
Why is water so crucial
in the region?
So what is the truth
1433 Millions of Cubic Meters (MCM) is the average
amount of fresh natural renewable water available
between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea
– that is to say, in the area covering Israel and the West
Bank, not including Gaza (multiannual average of
1993-2009). This figure does not fluctuate much.
This water accumulates in lakes, rivers and
The Mountain Aquifer is a shared water source for Israelis and Palestinians. The multiannual average of water
within the aquifer is estimated at 679MCM, according to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West
Bank and the Gaza Strip, signed in Washington, D.C., September 28, 1995. (Due to climate change the current
average is estimated at 641MCM).
The allocation of water to the two sides from the Mountain Aquifer is conducted according to Article 40 of the
Civil Annex to the Interim Agreement.
The Article gives two guidelines for the amounts of water to which each side is entitled.
The first is a guideline for the ‘interim period’, that is to say the period between the agreement (1995) and the
next scheduled agreement, which was expected to be 5 years later (2000).
The second gives a guideline for ‘future needs’, which is to say the timeframe beyond the interim period. This
guideline allocates more water to the Palestinian side than the first guideline.
Although no follow-up agreement was reached in 2000 and therefore we are still in the ‘interim period’, Israel
follows the guidelines pertaining to ‘future needs’, making more water available for the Palestinian side.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, there
are currently 7.8 million people residing in Israel.
Based on an average using the Palestinian Bureau
of Statistics and American/Israeli statistical study
(Y. Etinger) it is estimated that there are currently 2
million Palestinians residing in the West Bank.
How much water is there in Israel
and the West Bank?
How is the water divided?
How many people are there in
Israel and the West Bank?
Ein Feshkha (Einot Tzukim)
According to the agreement (Article 40) Palestinians
are entitled to 196 MCM of self-extracted water per
year, plus an additional 31 MCM that Israel needs to
actively supply from its own water and with its own
Combined, the Agreement states that the Palestinians
in the West Bank are entitled to an availability of 227
MCM of water.
Palestinian total consumption for all purposes is about
190 m3/year (2010 figure).
The per capita consumption figure (based on 2010
census) is 95 m3/year.
The discrepancy between availability and consumption
is explained in the FAQ section.
In reality, West Bank Palestinians have access to over
248 MCM of fresh natural water. This is because Israel
supplies an extra 21 MCM beyond its obligation.
(2010 figure). Adding to this, approximately 17MCM
of water is extracted through unapproved wells from
the Northern and Western Basins, against the Interim
Agreement and at Israel’s expense (because the water
current naturally flows towards the Israeli side).
This gives us a per capita sum of 124 m3/year without
counting unapproved extraction (based on 2010
In comparison, Israel’s per capita sum of fresh natural
water is 150 m3/year . (2010 census)
Article 40 of the Interim Agreement provides the guidelines for administration of water between Israelis and
Palestinians. It not only dictates how it should be portioned, but also how the joint resource should be managed
and what steps should be taken by either side to guarantee water sustainability and coexistence. Leaving aside
portioning, as this was discussed above, the key points for management of the resource are as follow:
Some of the key points include:
• Palestinian Water Rights in the West Bank are recognized and shall be negotiated in the Permanent Status
• Establishment of a permanent Joint Water Committee (JWC) to deal with all water and sewage related issues
in the West Bank. All decisions of the JWC shall be reached by consensus.
• Maintaining the existing quantities of water utilization, while taking into consideration the quantities of
additional water for the Palestinians from the Eastern Aquifer.
• Recognition from both sides of the necessity to develop additional water for various uses
• Prevention of the deterioration of water quality in water resources.
• Treating, reusing or properly disposing of all domestic, urban, industrial, and agricultural sewage.
• Existing water and sewage systems shall be operated, maintained and developed in a coordinated manner
• All development of water resources and systems, by either side, shall require the prior approval of the JWC.
• Both sides shall establish Joint Supervision and Enforcement Teams that shall operate in the field to
monitor, supervise, and enforce the implementation of Article 40.
In 1967, only 10% of Palestinian households were
connected to water infrastructure. Today this figure
had risen to 95%.
Palestinian cities in the West Bank currently have
better access to water than residents of Amman and
How Much Water are the
Palestinians Entitled to
According to the Agreement?
The Interim Agreement – key points concerning water
How much do they use?
How much fresh water
do Palestinians really
How Accessible is it?
Breaching of the Interim Agreement by the
Palestinians in various ways. For example:
The drilling of wells and creation of other waterextraction
sources on the Palestinian side without
approval by the JWC. This not only breaches the
terms of the Agreement, but also endangers the
sustainability of the Mountain Aquifer as the wells are
built without hydrological and engineering assessment.
The JWC does meet regularly, as per the Agreement’s
instruction, and does approve many new water projects
including many new wells on the Palestinian side. Yet,
many of these approved wells are not being built, and
unapproved, unmonitored wells are being favored
instead – despite all the permits for approved wells
being already acquired. (see FAQ section for further
Water theft by the Palestinian side through illegal
connections to Israeli water infrastructure (and
collateral damage resulting in water spillage).
Water contamination and environmental damage from
untreated sewage. The water source for both parties
is put at risk by untreated Palestinian sewage flowing
through wadis (streams), endangering the underground
aquifer and polluting the environment. Of the
52MCM of wastewater generated by the Palestinian
population, 17MCM raw sewage flows untreated in the
streams and into Israel, contaminating environment
and groundwater en route (Israel is then compelled to
treat it), 2 MCM is treated at the El Bireh Treatment
Plant, and 32.5 remain untreated in the West Bank,
contaminating the joint groundwater source.
(Israel provides encouragement and support to the
Palestinian side in the field of wastewater treatment,
including proposals to share Israeli technology and
Partnership difficulties due to misrepresentation of
the situation from the Palestinian side to third parties,
which also hampers progress on the ground.
Water loss through poor infrastructure and well
maintenance. The P.W.A. estimates their total water
loss, or ‘unaccounted-for-water’ (UFW) at 33%.
This figure includes both actual loss due to poorly
maintained infrastructure, as well as unpaid-for
water, used by Palestinian citizens, but for which the
Palestinian Authority did not receive payment.
Non-treatment of own wastewater resulting in:
• Contamination of groundwater and pollution of
• Inability to recycle sewage water and use it for
agriculture like the Israeli side, thus reducing the
amount of fresh water available for domestic use.
Water contamination and environmental damage from
untreated settler wastewater.
19.1 MCM is the total amount of wastewater
generated by Israelis residing in the West Bank. Of
this, 16.2 MCM is treated in Wastewater Treatment
Plants in Israel and the West Bank. 2.2 MCM are
partially treated and deposited in cesspits, and 0.7
MCM currently remain untreated, contaminating the
joint water source (although plans are underway to
address this problem).
Demolition of unapproved wells by the Israeli side.
This occurs because of the need to enforce the
provisions of the Interim Agreement, and because the
Palestinian Water Authority does not fulfill its pledge
of removing wells unapproved by the JWC. Since
these unmonitored wells can seriously endanger the
sustainability of the entire region’s main natural water
source, the swiftness of their removal is crucial. (As
the example of Gaza shows, where the unmonitored
drilling of thousands of Palestinian wells after
the disengagement destroyed the Gaza Aquifer).
Unapproved wells affect Israel, but also Palestinian
private owners, whose approved wells suffer from the
increased extraction by the unapproved wells.
Corruption within the P.W.A., lack of organization
and insufficient funds.
Some Issues the Israeli Side is
Some Issues the Palestinian
Side is Facing
Ein Feshkha (Einot Tzukim)
Do settlers get more water
than the Palestinians?
As Israeli citizens,
settlers’ water falls within
the Israeli allowance
allocated by the Interim
Agreement. The 350,000
settlers in the West Bank
consume 47 MCM/year,
which means 134m3/year
of fresh natural water per
capita. This is lower than
the Israeli allowance of
150 m3/year .
Do settlers ‘steal’
No. Settler consumption
falls within the Israeli
allocation, and therefore
does not tap into, or
affect, the Palestinian
source their water only
from Israeli sources,
which includes approved
(Israeli) wells in the
West Bank and sourcing
directly from Israel. The
water sourced from Israel
amounts to 100MCM
in total, of which 52.5
MCM for Palestinian
usage, and 47.5 MCM for
settler usage (in addition
Palestinians produce 140
MCM/ year themselves) –
although in reality settler
usage is lower than this,
thus leaving more water
for the Palestinians.
Does Israel use Palestinian
No. Israel uses strictly
the amount of fresh
water allocated by the
agreement, and does
not tap into Palestinian
Does Israel continue its
presence in the West Bank
as this offers a water
No. Israel’s consumption
from the Mountain
Aquifer (and freshwater
consumption in general)
is distinctly lower than
it was in 1967: In 1967,
Israelis consumed 504
m3/year per capita (total
water consumption of
1411MCM/year) of fresh
natural water. In 2009,
Israeli consumption was
137 m3/year per capita
(total water consumption
of 1040 MCM/year), and
this despite a considerable
population increase since
Does Israel need the West
Bank in order to access the
No. The aquifer is spread
out under both Israel and
the West Bank, with the
largest part of the aquifer
actually lying beneath
Israel: 8900 km, while
only 5600 lie under the
Does Israel sell water to
the Palestinians at inflated
No. The trade price of
water between the Israeli
and Palestinian sides
was established by the
JWC Pricing Protocol
in 1998, as 2.6 NIS per
cubic meter for the PWA.
This is a considerably
lower rate than the
full real price and also
significantly lower than
that paid by Israeli
within Israel and the West
Bank (the average Israeli
Municipality pays 3.86
NIS per cubic meter).
Is it difficult for
Palestinians to drill wells?
No, and the procedure
is identical for Israelis
wishing to drill wells. The
procedure for drilling
wells requires either one
or two steps. The first step
is to get an approval for
the well by the JWC.
This applies to both
Israelis and Palestinians
wishing to drill wells in
the West Bank. If the well
is located within Areas
A or B, Palestinians do
not need any further
approvals or permits,
and can start drilling. If
the well is within Area
C, both Israelis and
Palestinians require a
permit from the Civil
approves and permits
99% of requests.
Ashkelon Desalination Plant
If you would like more information about water
or another field within the Civil Administration’s
activities, please feel free to get in touch or visit us.
International Organizations Branch
Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria
Head of Branch: Lt. Col. Sharon Ben Ari
Does Israel have a lot
more water than the
In terms of fresh water,
Israel has only marginally
more water availability
than Palestinians per
capita (150 m3/year
versus 124 m3/year).
Overall though, Israel
does have more water
because it developed
to desalinate saline water.
Israel recycles wastewater
and uses the clean
output for agriculture.
The Palestinians do not
recycle their wastewater.
Israel is happy to share
expertise, and is currently
providing training in both
recycling and desalination
to the Palestinian side.
Palestinian availability is
248 MCM, yet consumption
is only 190 MCM. Why the
Although 248 MCM
is available, this does
not mean that all of
it is already extracted
from the ground. Part
of this water is part of
the Palestinian ‘future
needs’, as assessed by the
Interim Accords, and in
order to access the entire
amount, deeper wells
would need to be dug.
This is postponed due
to lack of funding and
internal management and
Why are the Palestinians
digging unapproved wells
in contradiction to the
Water Agreement, but not
digging approved ones?
Of 66 Palestinian wells
intended for domestic
use approved by the
JWC, 24 have not yet
been built – despite the
fact that there is no legal
or other impediment,
as all 24 wells hold
the appropriate Civil
The reason is twofold:
the first reason has to
do with the direction of
the water flow. Water in
the Mountain Aquifer
flows in two directions,
on either side of the
mountain range. Some
water flows to the west
(so towards Israel) and
some to the east (towards
the West Bank). The
wells are located in areas
that flow towards the
east. The unapproved
wells are all located in
areas that flow towards
the west. The illegal
wells thus cut off the
flow before the water can
reach Israel. This has an
impact on Israeli wells
in Israel, as not enough
water is reaching them.
The second reason has
to do with funding. The
areas where the water
flows naturally towards
the east is located in
the southern part of
the West Bank, and
require deeper digging
to access the water
than in the northern
part, where the ground
is less deep and thus
cheaper to dig. Acquiring
additional water through
unapproved wells is
also cheaper than
developing new water
through desalination and
Is the current rate of
No. With population
growth, natural water
sources will become
insufficient. The Interim
Accords state that both
sides need to develop
new water sources for
the future. Israel has
and water recycling
and is currently sharing
its expertise with the
Authority through a
series of workshops.
Does Israel respect the
terms of the Interim
Yes, and beyond. You
are invited to find out
more by visiting us at the
Civil Administration, or
visiting the Israeli Water
Wastewater Recycling Plant
Design: Mor Halimi, Production: Tamara Towbin The Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria Copyright © 2012
#11.2 ACTIVE DUTY ARMY GENERAL on 2012-10-25 16:08
In his next communique perhaps we can expect the gen'rul to reproduce the latest Army Drill Regulations. In their entirety.
This offers more info:
#12 another one on 2012-10-25 10:30
There have been 9 congressional investigations, a Navy investigation and a Defense Department investigation all of which have laid the blame at the NSA and the Navy for telling the Israelis that there were no U.S. Navy vessels in the area.
What was horrible was the disclosure that the NSA was monitoring the attack real-time and in order not to reveal their ongoing capability they chose not to intervene and notify the Israelis. Tom Moorer, chief of Naval operations, a lifelong friend went to his grave believing the attack was deliberate.
Having come under friendly fire in my career I always found it hard to believe that the attacks on my units have not been deliberate or certainly have not been the result of negligence.
This attack was unfortunate but has been more common then known throughout warfare.
it is about time that we put this lie to bed and do not try to resurrected every time we have the urge to bash Israel.
#12.1 ACTIVE DUTY ARMY GENERAL on 2012-10-25 16:20
Yes, BUT who among us would like to go to the negotiation table as the low man--the nation without a strong military might as well stay home! In my humble opinion.
#13 faculty wife on 2012-10-25 10:32
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