Cooperating Rivals: The Riparian Politics of the Jordan by Jeffrey K. Sosland

By Jeffrey K. Sosland

Examines cooperation and clash over water within the heart East.

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The United States, in turn, supported UNTSO’s decision and said it would not tolerate Israel’s disregard- State-Building and Water Development, 1920–1956 37 ing UN orders. 78 According to Dulles, “The United States was trying to adopt a fair, evenhanded policy in the Near East. ” 79 The United States decided that to be truly even-handed and maintain respect for international mediation boards like the UNTSO, and the United Nations in general, it would need to carry out its threat to suspend aid.

In response, the United States mediated among Jordan-basin states and negotiated a regional water plan. 1 However, by 1955, the politics of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the cold war combined to halt the US water mission from attaining a formal agreement from all Jordan River riparians. First to be examined is the importance of water to state-building and why Jordan River riparians perceived water as a vital national preference. The second section analyzes the various water-development programs.

Jordan took control of the area known as the West Bank, which it subsequently annexed. Middle East states did not regard the armistice agreements as a permanent border arrangement. Despite constant violations and minor readjustments, though, the boundaries between Israel and its neighbors essentially remained the same until the 1967 ArabIsraeli War. The end of the 1948 War brought with it great shifts in population and a rearrangement of alliances surrounding water resources. In early 1949, the United Nations estimated that 700,000 Arab refugees—about 70 percent of the Arab population of Palestine—had fled or had been expelled from Israelicontrolled territories.

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