‘The deal of the century’ and its hidden secrets



We oppose and reject the US-Israeli peace plan, or the so-called “deal of the century”, for many political, economic, social and religious reasons. It is rejected due to new signs that it will impede progress on the water issue between Palestinians and Israelis, as well as between the Israelis and their neighbouring countries.

The plan does not give the water issue the required weight, neither the attention necessary to indicate a goodwill effort towards the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Digging in-depth into the financial resources allocated in the so-called “deal of the century”, one finds that the total allocation for water for Palestine, including Gaza, Sinai and the joint projects with Jordan, does not exceed 3.1 billion dollars over a period of two to ten years.

It is worth noting that this amount is equivalent to what Jordan spent on the Jordanian water sector to meet its growing water needs, as well as to meet the needs of the influx of Syrian refugees to Jordan (then 1.5 million refugees) during the period of 2013 to 2017. Jordan spent this amount, despite a difficult financial system and without entering into deals with anyone else.

It is clear that the architects of this “deal” know well the importance of water for the establishment of the Palestinian state, and that without a long-term water plan that is sound and sustainable the desired state will lack necessary elements. This is likely why the plan moved away from the water issue, denying the previous agreements signed with the Palestinians, and continuing to control areas rich in surface water and groundwater, while continuing the building of settlements. This is evident in the areas of Jerusalem and Nablus, which are rich in surface and groundwater water.

Additionally, Israel will continue to occupy the remaining territories adjacent to the Jordan River and the northern Dead Sea area, which Palestinians do not maintain any control over, nor do they have sovereign rights on the occupied land mentioned above.

This time, through the “deal of the century”, Israel did not attempt to take control over the water and resources of border areas, as their strategy has changed given the presence of a surplus of gas. We have lived through periods when the tributaries and sources of the Jordan River were the main engine of aggression in 1967, and before that, the war of 1948, as well as the last war of attrition in 1973. Israel ended all of its wars with truce lines which allowed them to control the water resources of the Jordan River, the West Bank, the occupied Golan and the Sea of Galilee. Furthermore, Israel maintains control of the West Bank Mountain Aquifers and its water-rich underground reservoirs, whose water has been withdrawn by Israel in unfair and unsustainable ways, without the Palestinians having the right to their sovereign water.

Returning to the so-called “deal of the century”, the new Israeli strategy is focused on water networks and transmission lines from within Israel, towards the West Bank, Sinai, Gaza and Jordan. It ignores the Oslo 1993-1995 agreements and the 2017-2018 agreements signed to supply water to the West Bank and Gaza as part of the Red-Dead Sea Project Agreement. While Israel rejected the agreement, it insisted on introducing it in the “deal”, to indicate to the United States and Europe that it is working towards regional cooperation. However, implementation and commitment are another matter, especially if there is to be some benefit to others. Their strategy has changed in the absence of new water resources to control in the West Bank.

The new strategy is described as selling water to anyone who needs it, with payment. Israel has sea water to tap, as well as the best desalination technology, and has abundant cheap energy, by which I mean “Mediterranean gas”.

While the new strategy is economically and politically profitable, it is also problematic, given the controlling and occupying Palestinians and Arab water resources, and the related consequences of international community confrontation and legal problems.

Control of the northern part of the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley of the Palestinians has a hidden reason for its inclusion in the “deal”, which is related to the future of the Israeli potash industry in the Dead Sea, an industry which generates billions for the Israeli economy through the sale of potash salts and Dead Sea products.

In light of Israeli unwillingness to proceed with the Red-Dead project with Jordan and the Palestinians, Dead Sea environmental degradation will continue to the point where the Dead Sea may almost completely dry up. The Israeli water and borders planners know that the shores of the Dead Sea are receding and shrinking towards the north, “i.e. towards the borders of the West Bank on the Dead Sea”. Furthermore, Jordan has insisted over the past years that the state of Palestine borders the Dead Sea basin and has rights. Therefore, the Palestinians have been introduced as an active partner in the Red Dead Sea Project, a fact that the “deal” completely ignored.

To illustrate this point in numbers, the length of the western shore of the Dead Sea today is about 54km, of which only 18km is within Israel’s 1948 borders and the remaining 36km is located within the borders of the 1967 West Bank borders. If the waters of the Dead Sea continue to recede to the north, in the absence of the implementation of the Red-Dead Project, it is expected that over the next 25 years there will be no Dead Sea shore within Israel’s 1948 borders. As a result, the billions of US dollars of economic benefits which are generated as a result of the exploitation of the Dead Sea waters will surely disappear. This is why Israel insists, among other apparent reasons, on annexing the Palestinian areas of the Jordan Valley along the northern shores of the Dead Sea.

Water is a fundamental human right and a bridge to cooperation between nations, and it is not permissible to use it as a weapon to oppress and intimidate people, nor to pass political deals that are dead on arrival.

Within this context, it’s necessary to remind the international community, donors and international organisations, which have continuously repeated the need to regulate the fair use of water and its rights within riparian countries through many charters and conventions. These agreements started with the resolutions of the Association of International Law at its meeting in Helsinki in 1966, to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (UN Watercourses Convention) in 1997 (effective and in force since in 2014), which emphasised the principle of the participation of the states in watercourses and that the use should be fair and reasonable among all riparians.

The writer is chairman of the Middle East Water Forum. He was Jordan’s minister of water and irrigation, minister of agriculture and a former member of the Jordanian Parliament. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times


Dead Sea


24 replies

  1. Believe in me that there is no permanent peace between Israel and Palestine as long as Saudi Arabia still is Islamic state and Arab state— witch is Jews and Christian are not allowed to be Saudi Arabia’s citizen.

    In other word as long as Saudi Reject Human Right and Women’s right.

    Even Israel is a tiny state but Israel can defend its country from its enemy ( Arab ).

    • Somi is saying that Saudi Arabia is wrong being an Islamic State. (Yes, we support separation of religion and state). but sees nothing wrong in ISRAEL being a Jewish State and making any non-Jew as second class citizen or better no citizen at all. Would be nice if Somi would judge everyone with the same measure.

  2. CHINA
    “ Foundational texts of religions should “reflect socialist values” and should be rewritten so that they do not contain any content that goes against the beliefs of the Communist Party, the committee concluded. Hence, some paragraphs of religious texts would be amended or re-translated. The Committee said there would be a “comprehensive evaluation of the existing religious classics aiming at contents which do not conform to the progress of the times”.

    As long as there are violent verses Q.9:29 that against unbeliever there is no permanent peace…

    • careful Somi: Donald Trump does not appreciate people who love to follow China’s philosophy. And you are totally in agreement: re-write religion according to what-ever-you-feel-like.

    • It is really amazing how close Somi Tempo is to the Chinese Communist Party manifesto, both want to change the Quran (the Chinese also the Bible).

      • If Ahmadiyyah reject to reform the old Islamic teaching— it means Ahmadiyyah is supporting the terrorist ideology of Islam.very sad indeed

      • Unbelievable how Somi never learns. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at is headed by a Khalifa that has been appointed by Allah and therefore is blessed and in a way ‘assisted’ to interpret the teachings of the Qur’an as it applies to this time. Ahmadiyyat interprets the teachings according to the present time. Somi would like to ‘reform’ like the Chinese. Sad indeed.

      • No, you reformed only few verses and Ahmadiyaah still stick on ancient interpretation — ahmadiyya women wera hijab and burqa like ISIS— Ahmadiyyah dose not reject the harsh persecution like: flogging, cut off hand, and beheading , polygamy, segregation male and female—etc

  3. Rafiq, not only China government is afraid of Islamic terrorist Europe is afraid too— they found that the cause of terrorist is the teaching of Al Quran and Hadith:

    One of the latest attempts within this issue took place in April 2018, when the manifesto “contre le nouvel antisémitisme” – literally translated as against the new anti-Semitism – was signed by some 300 prominent figures, intellectuals and politicians, including former President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Part of the argumentation is the claim that the Quran incites violence. The signatories argue “that the verses of the Quran calling for the killing and punishment of Jews, Christians and unbelievers—-

    As I told many times here that Islamic teaching really need to be reformed—- yes Ahmadiyyah has tried to reform Islam by MGA, but it is not enough Ahmadiyyah needs to reform more— China and Europe will appreciate it .

    • Alhamdolillah. Many appreciate the Ahmadiyya interpretation of Islam. I am purposely not using the word ‘reform’. We are not changing Islam. The Qur’an is the final word of Allah. It just needs understanding and interpretation.

      Somi. Let’s end this discussion for a while. You put forward your thoughts of reform and we published it for you. Enough is enough please.

  4. You are not getting my drift. To the Palestinians all of Palestine includes the state of Israel. All- the whole pie everything! The only way there can be peace MAYBE is if there were emir states created in each Palestinian city .eg Emir of Ramallah Emir of Hebron etc.
    The Palestinians are not ready for a nation state . The only nation state they would consider is all of Palestine. The Ottomans knew this. They know this. Abbas and his billions knows this. Arafat and his billions knew this as well.

    • ok, please tell us, for our information, what the Israelis could accept. For me personally a one state solution with equal rights for everyone seems the most logical. Yes, all these Jews from Europe and America are here now. It is a fact of life. Your own name sounds very German too. Suesser Mann. sweet man. One law if you happen to be Jewish and another law if you happen to be non-Jewish, sorry, Apartheid and racist times are supposed to be over.

    • Quote— The Palestinians are not ready for a nation state . The only nation state they would consider is all of Palestine. The Ottomans knew this. They know this. Abbas and his billions knows this. Arafat and his billions knew this as well —-

      I agree with you—I believe that Israel will not allow a nation and equal right. Why?

      If Israel do that it means Israel allow Arab Muslim will dominate Jews in few years, because Arab Muslim grow faster than Jews—Jews know this well—-Jews also know well that Al Quran ORDER to fight and expel Jews from Arab land or Panensula Gulf— only Muslim can leave—

      As we see Saudi Arabia there is no One Saudi’s Jew citizen even Christian too—

      So as long as Saudi reject equal right for all people there is no permanent peace between Israel and Palestine-

      The key of permanent peace is in the hand of Saudi Arabia’s King—

      Our big QUESTION IS
      Can the King Of Saudi Arabia change his Government to Democratic system, all people from all religion are equal right??

      • You are always only quoting Saudi Arabia. There are Christians in Jordan. There are Jews in Iran and Morocco. There are Christians in Iraq. There are Christians in Palestine> Saddam Hussain’s trusted Foreign Minister was a Christian. Yes, I support that there should be churches in Saudi Arabia too for its large expatriate Christian population. Only the Phillipinos could fill the churches. (Western Christians hardly go to churches any more)

  5. These Emir states would be full sovereign nations like Dubai and UAE. Like Kuwait. The Palestinians would have many staes! They would not be Bantustans!! Full staes. Based on interests! Based on nationhood. The Palestinians can only live with themselves period. They are an equal educated people. Like Jews but can only live in their own nations. Like Kuwait Dubai Oman Qatar etc. Set up Emirates!
    Get rid of their exploiters who have billions!

    • interesting. Some of them would have gas also, if Israel doesn’t take it all; I assume. Then it could work.

    • Naturally there would need to be free movement, airports, ports, etc. it it is to be like Kuwait etc. Otherwise these Emirates would be GHETTOS and should be declared as such.

      • Yes by this I mean totally free with airports , gas etc..
        Like Kuwait. City states like Singapore. Forget about living with Jews whom you viscerally have as a result of being brought up to hate them.
        The nation states like Ramallah Hebron etc
        Fully free airports banks etc

      • Yes, with fully free access it might work. The Israelis I think do not see it that way. Like they are controlling the access to ‘free Gaza’ they want to do the same to the so-called future Palestinian State. That will not work. It would be a mental prison, not to speak of the actual one.

      • I am a lone voice in Vancouver Canada with really no world interest whatsoever
        If you think it has merit please publicize it
        I got this from an Israeli professor in Israel who specializes in Arab philosophy
        He wants everyone to publicize it!:)

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