Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – The issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict raises many interesting discussions. Starting from the root of the problem, social life in conflict areas, to natural resource issues.
Regarding the last sentence, in world history the occupation of a region by another country is closely related to the motive of extracting natural resources. As has happened, colonialists will transport natural resources for their own interests. Meanwhile, the colonial countries had to suffer and not feel the results of the dredging.
So, in the Israeli-Palestinian case, did something similar happen?
Water: A ‘Treasure’ in Palestine
Photo: A picture shows a view of the al-Aqsa mosque complex and its Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem on a rainy day, on April 12, 2023. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)
In 1938, a geologist named A. Bonne published his research “Natural Resources of Palestine”. He said there were 3 potential natural resources in the Palestinian territory. One of them is water resources.
In the Middle East, which is notoriously dry, water is an invaluable source of life. In the case of Saudi Arabia, for example, water has greatly influenced the course of the country’s history. It should be noted that when Saudi was first founded, it was listed as a fairly poor country. Difficulty finding water means the economy cannot grow, so development cannot occur. As a result, political life is very unstable.
Luckily, Palestine does not feel that way. While other Middle Eastern countries are busy looking for water, Palestine is blessed with abundant water. According to Bonne, water can be easily found in Palestine. When drilling into the ground, water immediately comes rushing out. The rivers rarely dry out because the cycles of summer and rain always alternate precisely.
As a result of the abundance of water coupled with the emergence of technology brought by the British, the Palestinian agricultural sector was able to grow rapidly. In fact, the presence of water is not only useful for agriculture, but also electrical energy.
Because there is no coal, the Palestinian people use the fast water of the Jordan River as a source of electrical energy. This use was proven by the existence of the Palestine Electric Corporation in 1926. Later, in large cities, such as Tel Aviv and Haifa, hydroelectric power plants began to appear.
This means that with the ownership of this most important ‘treasure’, at least the course of Palestinian history can be predicted to be prosperous. Unfortunately, fate took Palestine down a different historical path.
Captured by Israel
Photo: Palestinians, who fled their homes amid Israeli attacks, take shelter in UN-run camp tents, October 19, 2023. (REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
Ten years after the research was released, activist David ben-Gurion emerged. Qhen 1948, he surprisingly proclaimed the world’s first Jewish state called Israel on Palestinian land. From here, the situation began to differ.
Since Israel’s first occupation, wrote a 2019 UN report, the Palestinian population began to lose control over ownership of natural resources, especially the supply of the ‘treasure’ of water.
The Israeli authorities actually confiscated the Palestinian people’s water ownership. In the Human Rights Watch report, the seizure legally violates international law which prohibits taking over the resources of other territories for one’s own gain. Even so, Israel still did not back down. In fact, according to Amnesty International’s records, in 1967 Israel consciously revoked the rights of Palestinians to water in the West Bank.
At that time, Israel prohibited Palestinians from drilling new water wells, deepening wells, and was not allowed to take water from the Jordan River. In fact, Israel also controls and limits rainwater storage locations spread across the West Bank. They think the water will ‘kill’ Palestinian life.
Sure enough, not long after that, around hundreds of Palestinian communities did not have access to clean water. Even if it is accessible, the water is very small and of very poor quality. According to the UN, the impact of this policy is preventing the Palestinian economy from growing. The agricultural and industrial sectors were devastated.
It was at this point that Israel imposed its water business on Palestinians, who previously had control of the water. According to the UN, Israel charges prices to Palestinians and from this the country also benefits economically.
This seizure case continues to this day. In fact, it often becomes a political weapon. The latest news says that Israel has announced total isolation of the Gaza area. They cut off supplies of food, electricity and water as a result of the escalating conflict with Hamas.
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