Response to “WikiLeaks, Drought and Syria”

Later on the same day that Thomas Friedman published the op-ed in the New York Times entitled “WikiLeaks, Drought and Syria” Jeffery Grossman wrote a response to it in his article ‘Thomas Friedman. “WikiLeaks, Drought and Syria”: Israel Has the Answer.’

Jeffery Grossman claims that Israeli desalination technologies would be the solution to both the drought and the swelling population in Syria and the rest of the Middle East and Thomas Friedman mentioned in “WikiLeaks, Drought and Syria” that the

“Times of Israel quoted Israeli geographer Arnon Soffer as observing that in the past 60 years, the population in the Middle East has twice doubled.”

The Angry Arab News Service retorted to this in a short blog entitled ‘Thomas Friedman cites the most brilliant Israeli scientist ever’: “It is not known how this brilliant Israeli came to his earth-shattering conclusion/calculation. To multiply by two is a an easy scientific operation.” I have more to say on Arnon Soffer’s population assessments at the end of this article.

Just as Thomas Friedman in “WikiLeaks, Drought and Syria” makes the lament:

‘So to Iran and Saudi Arabia, who are funding the proxy war in Syria between Sunnis and Shiites/Alawites, all I can say is that you’re fighting for control of a potential human/ecological disaster zone. You need to be working together to rebuild Syria’s resiliency, and its commons, not destroying it.’

… so Jeffery Grossman also laments in ‘Thomas Friedman. “WikiLeaks, Drought and Syria“: Israel Has the Answer’ that “Assad and the rebels would rather die of thirst than contemplate receiving technological assistance from the Zionist state.”

Jeffery Grossman cites David Horovitz in a Times of Israel article entitled “How Israel beat the drought“:

‘Israel uses 2 billion cubic meters of water per year — which is actually a little less than a decade ago, as efficiencies have been introduced in agriculture (which uses 700 million), and water-saving awareness has permeated. Of that two billion, half will be ‘artificially’ manufactured by year’s end — 600 million cubic meters from those desalination plants, and 400 from purified sewage and brackish water.’

This utopian view of Israel as the Middle-East’s master of water resources chafing at the bit to share its desalination technology with the rest of the Middle East neglects to consider that Israel prevents Palestinians living under Israeli occupation from using most of the land and and water resources in the occupied territories. If hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank suffer severe shortage of water for personal consumption, bathing, cleaning, livestock and irrigation to an extent where it violates basic human rights such as the right to health, decent housing, equality, and the benefit of natural resources as a result of Israeli policy based on unfair allocation of water resources, then what is the likeihood of Israel providing its desalination technology to its neighbors as a ‘solution to both the drought and the swelling population in Syria and the rest of the Middle East‘?

Thomas Friedman makes the claim that Iran and Saudi Arabia are ‘funding the proxy war in Syria between Sunnis and Shiites/Alawites‘. The proxy war is between NATO-Israel-Gulf States alliance with al-Qaeda and an alliance between the governments of Iran and Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Many Sunnis serve in the Syrian Arab Army so this is not a ‘proxy war in Syria between Sunnis and Shiites/Alawites‘ as the NATO-Israel-Gulf States alliance with al-Qaeda would have us believe. Also, while undoubtedly the NATO-Israel-Gulf States alliance are funding the rebels in Syria it is not the case that the Syrian Arab Army is funded by either of its allies.

I searched in vain for Arnon Soffer’s claim of the population in the Middle East doubling in 60 years and to find out what Soffer would conclude would be the effect for his beloved Zionist project in Palestine.

In an article commencing at page 203 of the very lengthy Zionist manifesto called ‘Israel and a Palestinian State: Zero Sum Game?‘ Arnon Soffer writes that his article in this lengthy compilation of articles by prominent Zionists ‘is to present the whole complex of geopgraphical components (and only them) that might influence the future of relations between the Palestinian state and Israel, and the possibility that it might stand on its own feet as a stable state in the distant future. In the article Soffer states that “In reality, the Palestinian population is growing at a rate of 3-4% per year.”

Of relevance to the Friedman and Grossman articles on drought and water Soffer states:

The establishment of a Palestinian state will change the character of discussion of the future of the ground water in the mountains of Judea and Samaria. In the past and the present, Israel has controlled and even exploited most of the water of the aquifers under the mountains.

“Out of about 600 million cubic meters of water, the potential of the aquifers in the mountains of Judea and Samaria, about 400 million cubic meters, are transferred to consumption in Israel and serve mainly for drinking purposes. (Soffer, 1999)”

“It is difficult to assume that Israel will go to war for a few cubic meters of water and it will be asked to seek them in other places (from desalination!). We ought to assume that a Palestinian government will demand transfer of surplus water from Samaria and Mount Hebron to thirsty Gaza, which would be accomplished by means of a conduit that would run parallel to the corridor road.”

“Another issue is linked to massive use of water for a population of 2.5 million persons in the mountains of Judea and Samaria in another ten years time.”

Soffer concludes:

“We have enumerated the dangers of a Palestinian state, but are there other solutions to the process described? There are no good tidings of ‘the messianic times’ that are wholly peaceful, but there is something to do and that is for another article.”

Ray Bergmann
30 Jan 2014

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