Water Could be the Basis for Israel-Iraq Peace

Prejudices aside, there is no strategic reason Baghdad and Jerusalem shouldn’t be able to establish normal or even cordial diplomatic relations. Hussain Abdul-Hussain argues that the Jewish state’s water technology could bring the two countries together:

The top UN Development Program official in Baghdad warned that an increase in global temperature will decrease the fresh water available to Iraqis by 20 percent. Basra, Iraq’s second most populous city, which sits at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, is already dying of thirst, its water contaminated and its population decreasing.

Israel, too, faces tremendous environmental stress on its water supply, yet has mastered the process of desalination. Its efforts are so successful, it has been pumping desalinated water into its natural reservoir, Lake Kinneret, [also known as the Sea of Galilee]. So advanced is Israeli desalination that the former Arizona governor Doug Ducey described the Jewish state as “the world’s water superpower.” Accordingly, the arid southwestern state has awarded Israel contracts to deal with Arizona’s water shortage. Azerbaijan is also an Israeli customer.

Why not Iraq? . . . Iraq desperately needs Israeli desalination technology, which in turn requires moving toward peace. Instead, Baghdad has been going in the opposite direction, passing an absurd law that punishes with death or life in prison anyone “who places a call to the Zionist entity.”

Read more at National Interest

More about: Iraq, Israel-Arab relations, Israeli technology, Water

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security