Public Release: 

If not land, then water for expelled Arabs

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

An article to be published in the recent issue of Middle East Policy proposes the transfer of water rights from Israel to the lands where the expelled Arabs now reside. The water would go to the Palestine State and countries that received those refugees. "Today, Israel uses over ninety-five percent of the water available to the greater Palestine, the Palestinians receive the remainder," author Harald Frederiksen states. It would take minimal infrastructure for Israel to release the water and it has ample replacement resources. As additional incentive, Israel would be allowed to forego full compensation to the refugees for Israeli use of the resources as provided for in UN resolutions.

By 2020, 14 of the 20 countries in the area will fall so low in their amount of water per capita measurements, that they would be classified by the UN as being in "absolute stress." For arid climates in general, an ample water supply is critical for a country to maintain a healthy economy, attain its social goals, and uphold political stability. But at the heart of Frederiksen's paper is the question of whether or not a nation can expropriate water by removing the owners of their water rights and preventing the transfer to their new imposed place of residence? A resolution to the refugee burden on the resources and the social and economic conditions of all residents in the Occupied Territories and affected countries should be an urgent goal. "The alternative is the associated poverty and human depravation with the companion desperate actions that arise when all else becomes hopeless," Frederiksen concludes.


This study is published in the current issue of Middle East Policy. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article please contact

Middle East Policy is the most frequently cited journal on the Middle East region in the field of international affairs. It is published on behalf of the Middle East Policy Council.

Harald Frederiksen is a consultant in Water Resources Management. He held senior responsibility in preparing and implementing extensive regional developments in Iran's Khuzestan province, adjacent to Iraq and preparation of the Iran's National Water Plan among other projects in the region.

Mr. Frederiksen is available for questions and interviews.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.