National Geographic : 2010 Apr
• to work together. In the 1970s, for example, Jordan and Israel agreed on how to divvy up water even when the countries were o cially at war. And cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians over water has continued even as other tracks of the peace process hit a wall. "It seems counterintuitive, but water is just too important to go to war over," says Chuck Lawson, a former U.S. o cial who worked on Israeli-Palestinian water issues in the 1990s. "Regardless of the political situation, people need water, and that's a huge incentive to work things out." One day last April, Bromberg led me to the natural spring that provides water to Auja, a Palestinian village of 4,500 people that climbs the barren hills a few miles west of the Jordan River near Jericho. Fed by winter rains, the spring was owing from a small, boulder-strewn oasis, and we trekked along the narrow concrete trough that transports water to the village, several miles away. "Auja is totally dependent on this water for agriculture," Bromberg said. "As soon as this spring dries up, there'll be no more water for farming." Part idealist, part political operative, Brom- berg was born in Israel and raised in Australia, then returned to Israel in 1988 to help build peace in the region. By challenging his own country to share water equitably, Bromberg has rattled the cages of hard-line Israeli politicians who see water as a national security issue---and as a resource to guard jealously. Since occupying the West Bank in 1967, Israel has built a few dozen settlements in the Jordan Valley, in addition to the 120 or so elsewhere in the West Bank. e settlers' water is provided by Mekorot, Israel's national water authority, which has drilled 42 deep wells in the West Bank, mainly to supply Israeli cities. (According to a Don Belt is the senior editor for foreign a airs for the magazine. Paolo Pellegrin has documented con icts in Bosnia, Sudan, and Afghanistan. Bearing the burdens of a dry land, the Jordan south of the Sea of Galilee is mostly saline water and liquid waste, its fresh waters pumped out upstream for farming and daily use.