Sunday, October 25, 2009

More libel from "friends of Palestine"

From an email despatch from Dr. Martin Sherman*, Visiting Schusterman Israel Scholar – USC/HUC:

Omar Bargouti, a student at tel Aviv University is visiting Los Angeles. Among other things he will attempt to make the claim that Israel is depriving the Palestinians of water as a measure of ethnic cleansing – see the excerpts from the advertisement reproduced below

Palestine: Thirsting for Justice - Israel’s Control of Water as Tool of Apartheid and Means of Ethnic Cleansing
Loyola Law School November 1

Speaker: Omar Barghouti... a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
“This is our South Africa Moment”

This attempt must be countered vigorously and rebuffed assertively. The truth is that the Palestinians' situation in relation to water improved dramatically -indeed beyond all recognition - under Israeli administration.

The overall area under cultivation increased by 160%, while agricultural output increased 12-fold in the period 1967-1989 (just prior to the Oslo process). This was facilitated by the adoption of modern water-efficient irrigation techniques such as sprinklers and drip irrigation by Palestinian farmers, instead of open channel or rain-fed irrigation that were prevalent before Israeli administration in these areas.

Water experts such as Daniel Hillel, underscore this reality. In his wide-ranging study of the Middle East water resources, Rivers of Eden: The Struggle for Water and the Quest for Peace in the Middle East (Oxford University Press, 1994), a book generally empathetic toward the Arab world, Hillel makes the following observation:

The Israeli occupation changed local agriculture profoundly. It introduced modern technology, including mechanization, precision tillage, pest control, plastic covering of crops for temperature control, high yielding varieties, postharvest processing of produce, marketing, and export outlets. It also introduced efficient methods of irrigation, including sprinkler and especially drip irrigation. Consequently, output increased greatly, and farming was transformed from a subsistence enterprise to a commercial industry.

Moreover, of the roughly 450 towns and villages in Judea and Samaria only 50 were connected to a running water system in June 1967, whereas the number rose to 260 by October 1991. The overall per capita consumption of fresh water by the Palestinians rose by almost 17% in the period 1967-2009 (from 86 Million Cubic Meter [MCM] to 100 MCM) while Israeli per capita consumption fell by almost 300% (!) from % 508 MCM to 170 MCM - with much of agricultural cultivation being converted to use of recycled waste water.

*Dr. Martin Sherman acted as a ministerial advisor in the 1991-2 Shamir government. He also served for seven years in various defense related capacities and now teaches political science at Tel Aviv University. His works have been published in academic journals such as Journal of Strategic Studies, Journal of Theoretical Politics, International Journal of Intelligence and Counter Intelligence and Nations and Nationalism. He is the author of two books on international conflicts (Macmillan UK). Dr. Sherman is also a member of the advisory board of the Nativ journal in which he has published frequently.
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