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Boston Globe reporter defends absence of Bedouin and Palestinians from article on water in the Negev

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Boston-area Palestinian rights activist Nancy Murray recently wrote Boston Globe reporter Erin Ailworth about her November 17th article “In Israel, water where there was none” and you can read their correspondence below. Here’s a taste of Ailworth’s article:

On the chalky lower slopes of the Hebron Hills, in the midst of the scorched Israeli desert, there is an expanse known as “Green land,” where grapes grow lush on the vine, fruit orchards flourish, and a man-made forest of more than 4 million trees rises toward the sky.

Called Yatir, the forest and the vineyards it surrounds are potent symbols of Israel’s battle with nature. With science, technology, and, yes, a good amount of chutzpah, the arid country has figured out what few other desert regions have: how to squeeze enough water from a parched landscape to sustain a nation.

You can see Joel Wood’s Mondoweiss post on the same article here for more information on Yatir.

Murray wrote Ailworth to challenge her on the absolute lack of context in her piece regarding water in Israel/Palestine, and the inequity that exists between Israeli Jews, Bedouin and Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians living under occupation (Ed. note: Ailworth’s reporting appeared in the Globe but was funded through the International Center for Journalists’ Bringing Home the World program).

Here is their exchange:

From: Nancy Murray
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2013 13:04:12 -0500
To: <[email protected]>

Subject: Your November 17 piece on Israel and Water

Hello Erin Ailworth,

I too just returned from a trip to Israel and after reading your piece, feel we must have been visiting completely different places.  Or perhaps you didn’t talk to any Palestinians – either those who are citizens of Israel and who are being cleared out of the Negev desert while water-greedy eucalyptus trees are being planted over their land or those under occupation
whose West Bank aquifer has been appropriated by Israel, leaving them with only a fraction of the water to which Israeli settlers have access?

Are you really unaware that Israel was not built on “once-barren land” but on the destruction of Palestinian villages and appropriation of groves of fruit trees and Bedouin grazing land. Where do you think ‘Jaffa oranges’, for instance, came from?

Your article appeared straight from the ‘Brand Israel’ hasbara mill – in short, propaganda.  I would have expected considerably more from the International Center for Journalists’ ‘Bringing Home the World’ program.

Dr. Nancy Murray
Cambridge, MA

Ailworth responded:

From: “Ailworth, Erin” <[email protected]>
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2013 13:09:24 -0500
To: Nancy Murray

Subject: Re: Your November 17 piece on Israel and Water

Nancy —

I recognize that Israel evokes many emotions in people, and that everyone will have their different viewpoint on the political issues there.

The story I wrote was focused on water technology, rather than politics. My editor and I discussed the West Bank and Palestine and what role, if any they should play in my story. Given my lack of knowledge of those areas, and the limited amount of time I was able to spend in Israel, we felt it was better to err on the side of caution rather than try to tackle a tense, politically charged topic that I am not yet well-versed in. What you read is a true representation of the time I spent in Israel and the conversations that I had with people while there.

I hope to write more about water issues, but will leave stories about the West Bank and Palestine to those reporters who are more of an expert on the topic than I am.

Thanks for reading — Erin

Murray wrote Ailworth back to challenge her assertion that it is possible to separate water and politics in Israel/Palestine, and on the fact that she doesn’t seem to be aware that there are Palestinians and Bedouin who live in Israel, not just the West Bank:

From: Nancy Murray
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2013 16:09:21 -0500
To: “Ailworth, Erin” <[email protected]>

Subject: Re: Your November 17 piece on Israel and Water

Hello Erin,
Thanks for your reply.

I would argue that there is simply no way to write about water in Israel without taking politics into consideration.   And  in my comments to you, I am not referring just to the ‘West Bank’ and ‘Palestine.’   Bedouin – some 70,000 of them — whose land and sources of water are now being stolen in the Negev to make way for just about the most inappropriate kind of trees one can imagine being planted in a desert (eucalyptus trees – which are often used to drain swamps) – are ISRAELIS.  So are the Palestinians of the Nazareth/Galilee region who are Israeli citizens but also face discrimination in the allocation of water as in everything else.   Why?  Because as citizens, they have citizenship rights to water but not NATIONAL rights to water.  Only Jews get enjoy national rights – they get their water subsidized by the State and Palestinian farmers WITHIN ISRAEL simply can’t compete.

If you have another chance to go to Israel I suggest you talk to some non Jewish citizens, who make up at least 20 percent of the total and are the people (or the descendants of people) whose methods of farming were very much in tune with the ecology of the region before the State of Israel planted non-indigenous forests to disguise their destroyed villages and started perpetrating myths about ‘making the desert bloom.”

Nancy

Ailworth has not yet responded.

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About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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29 Responses

  1. Pamela Olson
    Pamela Olson
    November 23, 2013, 11:31 am

    Ah, the “Sorry, I’m really ignorant” journalism defense. Well played.

    /sarcasm

    • yrn
      yrn
      November 23, 2013, 12:44 pm

      Pamela

      You will see this answer more and more, as it’s the perfect way to just make it fade out.

      Reading “In Israel, water where there was none”, did not surprise me or informed me of issues I am not aware of, just makes me proud to know how developed water technology is in Israel and the potential to make great business world wide.
      Mass innovators see the huge business potential and how it can solve water problems globally, which is one of the world biggest problems.

      Nancy Murray letter, nothing accurate plain routine propaganda.
      If this was a defense product….. well maybe someone would consider replying but water technology, that can solve world wide water problems, she just picked the wrong issue.
      It’s just Pathetic.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        November 23, 2013, 2:09 pm

        Reading “In Israel, water where there was none”, did not surprise me or informed me of issues I am not aware of, just makes me proud to know how developed water technology is in Israel and the potential to make great business world wide.

        LOL! These puff pieces about you guys making the desert bloom are more likely to be covert business ads for non-Israeli businesses. WIPO has reported for years now that Israel is leading the rest of the world in the application of desalinated water for agricultural purposes. But it ordinarily uses technology that was patented in other counties according to actual counts of the records of patent office first and second filings (OFFs and OSFs). The leading innovators are still Europe, the USA, China, and Japan. http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/patentscope/en/programs/patent_landscapes/documents/patent_landscapes/948-2E-WEB.pdf

        Meanwhile: “Arabs make the desert bloom: In the ultimate of ironies, there is no better manifestation of the Zionist concept of making the desert bloom than the unrecognized Arab villages of the Negev – vibrant islands in a sea of gold, in the middle of nothing whatsoever.”
        http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/arabs-make-the-desert-bloom-1.382764

      • yrn
        yrn
        November 23, 2013, 3:47 pm

        Hostage

        I guess you tried to gain your honor back, but you lost even the minimal credit you had as a Cut and Paste ignorant,
        What did you try to achieve in your Comment.
        1. Regarding the issue itself, it about the Water technology of Israel welcomed by Mass innovators, and not regarding the blooming Negev, (which is an example), if it is a puff and Mass innovators are a bunch of sucker fools ,who don’t know how to do business, so maybe advice them that they are fools, will be much accurate then the letter they got from Nancy Murray.

        2. “But it ordinarily uses technology that was patented in other counties”
        Again Ignorant do some reading:”
        1) Alexander Zarchin He was a pioneer of desalination in Israel . Zarchin invented method based on freeze desalination of seawater. The process of freezing , get on molecules organized around the structure of water that leaves room for the sailors. To separate the salt from the water. ”
        http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/אלכסנדר_זרחין

        2) “It should be noted at this point that the Israeli mind, Prof. Sidney Loeb Memorial, the inventor and developer of the first commercial membrane desalination. Laub immigrated to Israel in the late 60s and worked as a professor at Ben Gurion University.”
        http://www.water.gov.il/Hebrew/Planning-and-Development/Desalination/Pages/default.aspx?P=print

        3) the document you refer too indicate the following:
        “Agricultural applications are viewed as an important market for desalinated water in the long term, although this is already practiced in Israel, who is the current leader in the development of desalination solutions for agricultural use. ”
        Is the “leader in the development”, not the leader of innovators…… and if not, look with whom you compare little Israel with EUROPE-USA-CHINA-JAPAN.

        Well if it is a puff and you are so eager to lower Israel Technology as a puff,
        just shows how pathetic you are.

      • yrn
        yrn
        November 23, 2013, 4:02 pm

        Hostage
        Regarding your Meanwhile: “Arabs make the desert bloom”:
        It’s a critic which I welcome, as many Israelis do and hopefully it will get much more attention for the benefit of all the citizens of Israel.
        You are just a small minded person, A typical biased one sided arrogant ignorant, you will never ever be an intellectual.

      • yrn
        yrn
        November 23, 2013, 4:17 pm

        Hostage

        Read some puff about NETAFIM drip water irrigation tech
        Based on a concept developed by agronomist Simcha Blass, Netafim was established in 1965 at Kibbutz Hatzerim. It has since become a global enterprise controlling over one third of the global micro-irrigation market.
        focuses on crops in the area of drip irrigation, greenhouse turnkey projects, and biofuel energy crops. Founded in 1965, Netafim introduced a new concept of low-volume irrigation, launching the drip irrigation revolution.

        Small Israel controlling over one third of the global micro-irrigation market.
        Saving water to more then 150 countries .

        What a Puffffff.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        November 24, 2013, 12:55 am

        Read some puff about NETAFIM drip water irrigation tech
        Based on a concept developed by agronomist Simcha Blass, Netafim was established in 1965 at Kibbutz Hatzerim.

        We were talking about the desalinization technology that puts water where it didn’t exist before. People in the Middle East, had been using drip irrigation for centuries before the Blass drip irrigation emitter was patented in 1959. Inventors in Germany and the US had already used perforated polyethelene tubing too.

        It has since become a global enterprise controlling over one third of the global micro-irrigation market.

        How is that going to continue to work? The key patents needed to keep competitors from marketing cheaper emitters or polyethelene tubing expired a long time ago and multinationals like John Deere have bought up competitors in Israel and elsewhere and moved their manufacturing and sales units into all of the key markets abroad, including the biggest ones in China and India. Neither of those two countries really need any outside help from Israelis or John Deere in the engineering and manufacturing sector.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        November 24, 2013, 2:49 am

        Regarding your Meanwhile: “Arabs make the desert bloom”:
        It’s a critic which I welcome, as many Israelis do and hopefully it will get much more attention for the benefit of all the citizens of Israel.

        If you welcome the criticism, then stop making dickish comments like: “You are just a small minded person, A typical biased one sided arrogant ignorant, you will never ever be an intellectual.”

        I don’t rely on intellectualism in the first place. That’s why I still enjoy applying lessons learned from my own experiences and those of others to educate myself and acquire the knowledge that can result in changed behavior. Ignorance merely means “I don’t know yet”, while stupidity means you never will. What I’ve learned so far about Zionism and the Jewish state is that the costs to others far outweigh any of the claimed benefits.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        November 24, 2013, 3:13 am

        What did you try to achieve in your Comment.

        To point out that the majority of innovations on the process of desalinization have been patented in countries other than Israel. Arguably Israel is a good market for the technology developed by others.

        “It should be noted at this point that the Israeli mind, Prof. Sidney Loeb Memorial, the inventor and developer of the first commercial membrane desalination. . . . link to water.gov.il

        That’s a pretty blatant example of Zionist propaganda. Prof. Samuel Yuster, Loeb, and a fellow student Srinivasa Sourirajan were credited for the discovery. Loeb was neither a professor nor an Israeli at the time and his team was working on grants at UCLA that were funded by the state and federal governments here in the USA.

      • yrn
        yrn
        November 24, 2013, 5:30 am

        In 1967 Loeb came to Beersheva to teach RO technology at the Negev Institute for Arid Zone Research, later incorporated into the Institutes for Applied Research of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). Loeb later accepted a half time teaching and half time research position as Professor of Chemical Engineering at the newly established BGU. For 15 years at BGU, Loeb carried out research and taught membrane processes, desalination, and other subjects. It was at BGU that Loeb invented pressure retarded osmosis and a method of producing power by a reverse electrodialysis heat engine.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidney_Loeb

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        November 24, 2013, 8:44 am

        In 1967 Loeb came to Beersheva to teach RO technology at the Negev Institute for Arid Zone Research

        Nothing you cited from Wikipedia alters the fact that the Israeli MFA article is false and misleading Zionist propaganda.

        In fact, your whole line of comments and arguments here and elsewhere illustrate the usual dishonest attempts to portray Israeli displacement of the Bedouin population of the Beersheba region and theft of the nearly 2 million dunams of their cultivated lands, that were specifically mentioned in the Survey of Palestine and the UNSCOP reports, as something progressive, benevolent, and beneficial. But it’s really just transparently deceitful hasbara.

        The articles, like this one by Adam and the related one by Joel Wool, + the letters from informed people, like Nancy Murray, pokes in Israeli accounts and descriptions and are backed-up by on-going reports on this same situation from experts, like Prof Oren Yiftachel, the CERD, and Adallah. those in-turn are combined with historical eyewitnesses accounts, like the +972 article about Dan Gazit.

      • American
        American
        November 23, 2013, 2:53 pm

        yrn

        mass innovators?..hardly.
        Every time I use to see the claims about Israeli inventing this and that and I looked up the origins of what they were claiming….99 out of a 100 ..it was pure hype…a lie.
        Everything the Israelis are using for water conversion was actually ‘conceived and invented’ long ago by someone else.
        In 1955 Israel was so bad off and on the verge of collapse, not even able to produce enough food on that fertile soil they stole from the Palestines, that the US, under a grant, send US agr experts to teach them how to farm and improve their water resources.

        http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/podcasts/globalchallenges/freshwater.html
        •The first scientific paper on desalting was published by Arab chemists in the eighth century.
        •Desalination/distillation is one of mankind’s earliest forms of water treatment. In ancient times, many civilizations used this process on their ships to convert sea water into drinking water.
        •Today, desalination plants are used to convert sea water to drinking water on ships and in many arid regions of the world, and to treat water in other areas that is fouled by natural and unnatural contaminants.
        •The largest inland desalination plant in the world, the El Paso-Fort Bliss desalination plant, has a design capacity of approximately 27.5 MGD (30,800 acre-feet).
        •The average cost to produce 1 acre-foot of desalinated water from seawater ranges from approximately $800 to about $1,400.
        •The size of each reverse osmosis membrane pore used in the desalination process is about 1/100,000th the size of one human hair.

        I would ask you why you lie so much but I think I already know the answer.

      • yrn
        yrn
        November 24, 2013, 5:54 am

        American

        To make it short.
        Why do ALL the big world wide software and technology companies open their R&D Centers in Israel
        Intel
        IBM
        SAP
        HP
        Microsoft
        Oracle
        Google

        You name it.
        And why do they come on a regular base to buy Israeli technology (every year 1200 new start-ups), that you don’t even know that you are using.

        You can spew about Israel and the Palestinians, but you are just stupid to get into the area that you will look like a fool.

      • American
        American
        November 24, 2013, 10:35 am

        yrn says:
        November 24, 2013 at 5:54 am

        American

        To make it short.
        Why do ALL the big world wide software and technology companies open their R&D Centers in Israel’>>>

        LOL….why do they open R&D centers all over the world?

        Intel
        India
        Heredia, Costa Rica
        Chandler, Arizona
        Chengdu, China
        Kulim, Malaysia
        Penang, Malaysia
        Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
        Leixlip, Ireland
        Kiryat Gat, Israel
        Dalian, China
        etc…all over the world

        Why are microsoft research labs in every country from China to Germany to India to Egypt to Ireland ?

        http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/labs/

        Why does Oracle have development operations from the US to Nairobi to Russia to Norway?

        Oracle Corporation – Oracle FAQ
        http://www.orafaq.com/wiki/Oracle_Corporation‎
        Mar 7, 2012 – Oracle was established in 1977 and has offices in more than 145 countries around the world.

        There is nothing that makes you stupider than looking at yourself and thinking you’re all there is.
        But the real killer diller to your bragging is none of these mega companies were created or invented by Israelis–Israel has just benefited from them locating an operation there.

        Israel is what it is for the most part—-an ‘adapter’ of and commerical expander’ of inventions, but “creators” of hi tech or anything else that has changed or literally impacted the world…that you definitely arent.
        All these gaint innovations and hi tech companies did not come from some in gathering of Jewish brilliance on Israeli soil as you want to believe.

      • talknic
        talknic
        November 25, 2013, 4:50 pm

        @ yrn “To make it short.”

        yrn foolishly digs another hole

  2. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    November 23, 2013, 11:43 am

    Nancy Murray has supported Palestinian rights since the 1980s. Glad to see she is still active.

    I imagine that water-supply in I/P is roughly a zero-sum game: If Israel takes it, Palestinians (somewhere) must thereby lose it. It may be true that you can “make” water via energy-expensive desalination from sea water, but the mere possibility does not mean that anyone is doing it. It certainly does not mean that Israel is making water (at high expense in energy) and then giving it to Palestinians. Giving? Where is such “giving” written? Maybe selling. It wouldn’t surprise me if Israel was stealing surface and ground water from Palestinians and then selling them water — maybe the same water just stolen !! — even from desalination.

    The very idea that Israel would permit and encourage the growing of water-hungry trees, or cotton, or various other crops in a land chronically short of water is per se appalling. But that they would do so when Palestinians are so desperate for water is criminal.

    And add to that Israel’s “management” of water in the West Bank — destroying Palestinian water tanks, destroying Palestinian wells, limiting the depth of Palestinian wells while not limiting the depth of Israeli wells (“water apartheid”) — all are part of the poisonous oppression by which Israel seeks to depopulate Palestine.

    And the USA supports all this. When asked, they say they oppose some of it. But there is precious little evidence of even lip-service to such American opposition to Israeli oppression of Palestinians. Makes one ashamed to be an American.

  3. piotr
    piotr
    November 23, 2013, 12:47 pm

    The article is one-sided even if it is considered purely on technological terms. It does not address two basic issues:

    a. are there negative effects of technologies that Israelis are pushing?

    For example, transporting water away from Galilee is decreasing the flow to the Dead Sea where the levels are dropping. This is compounded by extraction of water from other sources from where the water would flow, above or underground, to the Dead Sea.

    The second example is the extensive use of drip irrigation. Any irrigation scheme that uses “just enough” water tends to use enough for growing of the crops and not enough to flush the soil from salt, so over the years salt may accumulate.

    b. How original are the “Israeli technologies”? A lot of technologically advanced counties have water issues and a lot of solutions, like USA, Australia, Spain, Israel, Germany and so on. It is not like drip irrigation, reverse osmosis, or tests for microbial contamination were exclusively or even primarily Israeli inventions and products.

    The article reads like written by a typical English major with no knowledge of technology, agriculture and economics and who was gently tutored by people selected for interviews. Sadly, this is pretty much standard for the genre.

    The other aspect is that the cited phrase sounds quite sinister:

    the arid country has figured out what few other desert regions have: how to squeeze enough water from a parched landscape to sustain a nation

    Instantly it evokes enviromental and social issues. How to turn Eastern California from a desert to complete desert to let LA thrive? When you squeeze water from one place, you deprive another. And of course the uniquely Israeli issue of squeezing water from the landscape that has population and agriculture. Ignoring environmental and social dimension of water policies and technologies makes crappy reporting.

    Lazy reporting is the norm. However, by the author admission, here it is not laziness but self-censorship.

  4. American
    American
    November 23, 2013, 2:21 pm

    And now for the ‘facts’.

    http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2009/06/30/000333037_20090630003234/Rendered/INDEX/476570SR0P11511nsReport18Apr2009111.txt

    Part I. The current situation in the Palestinian water sector Part I of the Report reviews the status of the Palestinian water sector thirteen years after the Oslo accord, and quantifies and discusses impacts on the Palestinian people, on water resources, and on the environment.

    West Bank water resources and services Palestinians have access to one fifth of the resources of the Mountain Aquifer. Palestinians abstract about 20% of the “estimated potential” of the aquifers that underlie both the West Bank and Israel. Israel abstracts the balance, and in addition overdraws without JWC approval on the “estimated potential” by more than 50%, up to 1.8 times its share under Oslo.

    Over-extraction by deep wells combined with reduced recharge has created risks for the aquifers and a decline in water available to Palestinians through shallower wells. (Chapter 1) Water withdrawals per head of the Palestinian population have been declining, and there are real water shortages. Palestinian abstractions have actually declined over the last ten years, under the combined effect of dropping water tables and restricted drilling, deepening and rehabilitation of wells. Water withdrawals per capita for Palestinians in the West Bank are about one quarter of those available to Israelis, and have declined over the last decade. By regional standards, Palestinians have the lowest access to fresh water resources. The low availability and high cost of water have led to shortages and coping strategies, with some West Bank Palestinian communities carrying out unlicensed drilling to obtain drinking water. (Chapter 1)

    Following the 1967 War, Israel took control of water resources, and developed wells, throughout the West Bank, together with a water supply network serving settlements that linked into the Mekorot network.

    Palestinian water rights in the West Bank were abrogated, including from the Jordan river.

    The amount that Mekorot supplies to the settlements is unofficially estimated at some 75 MCM, of which 44 MCM is produced from wells controlled by Israel or settlers within the West Bank.
    Israel also pumps 10 MCM from wells in the West Bank to sell to Palestinian providers and consumers.

    In addition to extraction of water within the West Bank to supply to settlements, Israel also pumps about 10 MCM of water from wells in the West Bank that it then sells to the Palestinians through Mekorot.19

    Report No. 47657-GZ WEST BANK AND GAZA ASSESSMENT OF RESTRICTIONS ON PALESTINIAN WATER SECTOR DEVELOPMENT Sector Middle East and North Africa Region Sustainable Development The World Bank

  5. Balfour
    Balfour
    November 23, 2013, 4:53 pm

    “Ah, the “Sorry, I’m really ignorant” journalism defense. Well played.”

    Read Ailworth’s blog that attached to the sidebar go this original article- she’s not as naive and innocent and she publicly presents herself.

  6. Ismail
    Ismail
    November 23, 2013, 5:01 pm

    I believe Erin Ailsworth has another piece in the works – it’s about the magnificent technological advances developed in the southern US in the 18th and 19th centuries allowing for unprecedented increases in cotton production.

    Piece should be forthcoming soon, unless perhaps an editor hips her to the peculiar social relations underlying these “advances”.

  7. November 23, 2013, 5:54 pm

    More facts
    1. Israel has discovered some 20 years ago that Negev has many underground aquifers but with high salinity. This prevented a conventional agricultural use of this water.

    Research (in BGU and HIJ) was initiated aimed at adopting crops that can produce commercial yields under saline conditions and development of cultural practices for growing crops under such conditions.

    http://www.agri.huji.ac.il/research/english/7e.html
    This revealed that Negev saline groundwater, of which there is an abundance, can nourish grapevines and produce commercial yields. Furthermore, the wine produced from these grapes is of equal quality to normally irrigated vines and in some cases, of superior quality. So Israel’s Negev Desert is likely to become an important vine growing area, despite unfavorable farming conditions and a shortage of fresh water.

    2. Water is not a zero sum game – desalination projects seem to eliminate water shortages in Israel.

    Israel Desalination Enterprises Technologies’ Sorek Desalination Plant provide up to 26,000 cubic meters – or nearly 7 million gallons – of potable water to Israelis every hour. When it’s at full capacity, it will be the largest desalination plant of its kind in the world.

    Read more: http://www.jta.org/2013/05/28/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/water-surplus-in-israel-with-desalination-once-unthinkable-is-possible#ixzz2lVmhhy00

    The new plant and several others along Israel’s coast are part of the country’s latest tactic in its decades-long quest to provide for the nation’s water needs.

    3. Let me just add – this fall started very badly – no rains to speak off so far. That typically would bring many reports in our (typically very masochistic) press about doomsday
    water shortages. Amazingly – for the first time ever no such reports this year. If you are sharp eyed you can detect explanations of this as the success of the desalination project. http://www.water-technology.net/projects/israel/

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      November 24, 2013, 2:34 am

      Research (in BGU and HIJ) was initiated aimed at adopting crops that can produce commercial yields under saline conditions and development of cultural practices for growing crops under such conditions.

      Yes I’ve read about that. The fact remains that Israeli attempts to drill wells and draw underground water are still largely failures. In most cases the quantities of water obtained were small and the salinity of the water was often too high for even the agricultural uses you describe. So far, the government and industry have still concluded that the only reliable way of providing a sufficient dependable supply of water is the use pipelines or canals to bring it in from elsewhere.

      The key here is that you are only talking about the use of commercial scale agriculture to solve a few of the thorny problems. The Bedouins are already growing some crops that are suited to the use of brackish water. They provide a basic income and cover a significant amount of the typical families’ food requirements, but “cannot provide a full income [that is considered adequate] for a family head in a developed country like Israel.” See for example: Khalil Abu Rabia, (BGU), and Stefan Leu, (BGU), et al, “Environmental and economic potential of Bedouin dryland agriculture: A case study in the Northern Negev, Israel”, http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=1722973&show=abstract

      Researchers in Israel and elsewhere, also know that commercial scale agriculture usually results in over-pumping of the underground aquifers. The competitive advantages are exploited to lower production costs and prices of the commodities, until the aquifers get depleted faster than they can be naturally recharged. Then the agri-businesses that depend upon them either double-down and vanish or are forced to sacrifice full income and bring in higher priced water obtained from other sources.

      Israel has discovered some 20 years ago that Negev has many underground aquifers but with high salinity.

      That was really no secret. If the stories about the patriarch Issac digging a well at Rehoboth in the Negev didn’t give you a clue, then surely all of the wells dug by the Nabateans, Romans, Bedouins, and British officials over the centuries should have provided enough evidence of the water’s existence.

    • talknic
      talknic
      November 25, 2013, 5:22 pm

      @ fnlevit “Israel has discovered some 20 years ago that Negev has many underground aquifers but with high salinity. This prevented a conventional agricultural use of this water”

      What had been known for hundreds of years by the local people is not an Israeli discovery.

  8. amigo
    amigo
    November 23, 2013, 8:05 pm

    “In Israel, water where there was none”,

    Thievery ,murder,oppression,ethnic cleansing and colonialism where there was none.

    It,s sort of like stealing your neighbors car and then bragging about the wonderful shine you gave it.

  9. bilal a
    bilal a
    November 23, 2013, 8:21 pm

    The presumed Editor/ombudsman, Christine Chinlund, that spiked the coverage of the political angle (water theft) has come under a great deal of heat for her refusal to call Hamas a terrorist organization, though she was clear in denouncing terror actions targeting civilians : from for example Camera, the Forward, and various neocon blogs.

    This is exactly the purpose of the Israeli-Anglo American SPECTRE nexus, a private intelligence, transnational body politic, first announced publicly in the Bond thrillers, ie

    SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion)

    art imitates life.

  10. RoHa
    RoHa
    November 23, 2013, 9:11 pm

    “the arid country has figured out what few other desert regions have: how to squeeze enough water from a parched landscape to sustain a nation.”

    Qanat (قناة‎)

    Great Man-Made River (النهر الصناعي العظيم)

  11. Qualtrough
    Qualtrough
    November 23, 2013, 11:02 pm

    Given the journalist admitted her ignorance about the political issues involved, it would seem she is a prime candidate for some kind of sponsored study-tour so she could get the viewpoint of the Palestinians impacted by these projects. I know the Israelis spend millions each year on similar ventures. Is there any money available for things like this on the Palestinian side?

    • yrn
      yrn
      November 24, 2013, 10:37 am

      Qualtrough
      “Given the journalist admitted her ignorance about the political issues involved”

      Grow up. it’s the best way to say “thanks don’t call us we will call you”
      Kapish

  12. piotr
    piotr
    November 24, 2013, 9:45 am

    I recall reading a similarly gushing article about Spain, but it was in advertising section, countries purchase such sections from time to time. Not that Spanish did not invent anything concerning water or clean energy or they do not have a bunch of impressive companies, but writing such PR article is not a job for independent journalists. A good baseline would be an article about water schemes in China (needless to say, being orders of magnitude larger) that would totally ignore environmental and social dimension — it would be a crappy article.

    Talking about advertising sections, I once had a good laugh from the advertising section of Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia. It is an enormous territory with important mineral production and vast opportunities for investment. Among articles there was also interview with the governor — Sakha is a part of Russian Federation. He talked about diamonds, copper etc. and got a question: how about tourism potential? His answer was “Sakha has so-cold northern pole of cold, which cannot but attract tourism interest”. Then he started to talk about diamonds again. I started to dream of TV campaign promoting tourism in Sakha. “I came and it took my breath away” (minus 80 F can do it to you). Or “I was speechless”. I found a video from one of the coldest towns on Youtube. Great tips for parents: at minus 50 children should not play outside more than 5 minutes, and minus 70, no more than 1 minute. And then you could see the tiny children bursting out for 5 minutes, properly dressed of course, and playing with all their energy.

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