Policy Considerations

For decades now the country of Israel has been a battleground between the Jewish and Palestinians over land and religion. This tension has caused many skirmishes, dragging in other countries of the Middle East including Israel’s neighbor Jordan. For a while the relationship between Israel and Jordan was tense due to the close ties of Jordan and Palestine, but in 1994 they were able to sign a peace treaty with each other. This treaty created an ongoing relationship that has provided security through buffer zones and informational sharing. People even call it a practical and very functional relationship where both benefit in many ways, and if either were to be attacked from extremists, there is a high chance they would come to each other’s aid. This still has not fixed anything between Palestine and Israel, but countries have been continuously trying to create a solution for peace (Welsh, 2014).

The governments of these countries recognize that the declining of The Dead Sea is becoming an issue, and has commissioned researchers to come up with plans to fix it. Israel has been at the forefront having its tourism and environmental protection ministers trying to come of with proposals to save the sea that the government itself would approve (Estrin, 2011). As of today however there may finally be a solution created to finally achieve peace between the countries and environmental stability. An agreement has been created to construct a pipeline that will pump potable fresh water from the Red Sea to Israel and Southern Jordan. This project has been constructed in the hopes to help stop people from diverting water from the Jordan River that replenishes The Dead Sea (Jablonski, 2013).  The water ministers of Jordan and Palestine along with the energy and infrastructure minister of Israel were the ones to sign the agreement and are all excited to be working together. There are still some skeptics including certain delegations of each country who feel that their rights to The Dead Sea might be threatened, but the signed agreement gives hope to all that it might help solve future problems.

Minister for Regional Cooperation Silvan Shalom, Jordanian Minister of Water and Irrigation Hazem Nasser, and head of the Palestinian Water Authority Dr. Shaddad Attili at signing ceremony.

Since there are multiple governments involved in this project it is hard to go through each government and their state to analyze their ways of policy thinking. You can however take Kindgom’s Streams for Policy Streaming and track the events that have lead to this project agreement. The Problem Stream consists of 3 components; 1) Evidence the problem exists, 2) Trigger events, and 3) Convergence of actors.

For the first component you can look at two problems here, the religious and political tensions between the countries, as well as the declining level of The Dead Sea and other water problems. The evidence here for the tension is the ongoing media spotlight showing all the physical and spoken disputes between the parties, and for The Dead Sea there are measurements as well as satellite images of its decline.

For the second component there have been many events that have triggered an awareness of political unrest and the decline of The Dead Sea. It is difficult to pinpoint an exact event that caused unrest between Israel and Palestine, but there have been recent events that can be tracked. In June 3 Israeli teenagers were kidnapped, assumed by Palestinians, who were eventually found dead, caused Israel to retaliate with missile attacks on The Gaza Strip. This has created an ongoing battle that many countries over the world are concerned about and are hoping greatly for someone to take charge and plan peace talks to settle things (Blau, 2014).

Israeli missile attack on Hamas.

As for awareness of The Dead Sea and its slow decline, in 2012 NASA published a series of images showing in great detail how much water levels have decreased from 1972-2011 seen in the images below. This made a lot of people stop and realize that this was becoming an actual crises and that something needed to be done about it.

For the last component the water agreement of the Red Sea-Dead Sea project is a great example of the actors of the countries coming together to figure out a solution to this environmental problem. People are also hoping that it will also bring a common ground to Israel and Palestine so that tensions may lower and peace can be brought to these two groups.


To learn more about this new relationship click here for references.

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