[Extracted from a paper prepared [in] October 1997.]
* * *
have suggested that rumours of Jordanian and Syrian plans to divert the
headwaters of the Jordan River were the principal cause of the 1967
war between Israel and the Arab states. Others believe that Israel's
systematic exploitation of the water resources of the West Bank has been the
main reason for its reluctance to consider a peace agreement based on the
exchange of land for peace, and that the control of the flow of the
Litani River is the real reason for Israel's occupation of southern Lebanon.
The Litani, located entirely within Lebanon, derives its hydro-political
importance from the fact that it runs within easy tunneling distance to the
present Israeli-Lebanese border. It runs actually less than 10 kilometers
from the Israeli controlled upper reaches of the Jordan. Israel had
hoped to connect the Litani with the Jordan, thus enabling it to pump those
waters into Israel proper.
The plan to seize the Litani has a long history. It had
been articulated for the first time in the 1920s by one of the Zionist organisations
but the objective became more serious following the 1967 war, as Israel wanted
more water than had been garnered from the war. The timing for the capture
of the Litani in 1978 was logical: if South Lebanon were secured at the time,
the waters of the Litani would be available for Israeli use by some point
in the mid-1980s, when Israel anticipated that the waters captured in the
1967 war would be fully used up and more water needed. However, as
things stand now, the coveted waters of the Litani remain undeveloped for
Lebanon and in limbo for Israel.
On the whole, the 1967 war secured the capture of about 900 mcm/y
of water for the Israelis, or nearly half of their water use. These
waters are now so many arguments against any kind of settlement with the Palestinians
which would involve restitution of that water. . .
* * *
Israel 'aiming for Litani river'
[Aug. 1,] 2006 - 07:04:01
Israeli army will move deeper into southern Lebanon and hold on to that
territory for several weeks, until a multinational force can deploy there,
senior Israeli officials said today.
Israel Radio, Israel Army Radio and a senior Israeli government official
said ground forces would reach the Litani river, about 30km north
of the Israeli-Lebanese border. The official spoke on condition of anonymity
because he is not authorised to discuss decisions of closed-door government
meetings with reporters.
Ephraim Sneh, a senior Labour Party lawmaker, indirectly confirmed
the planned push until the Litani. Asked by Israel Radio how long
troops would hold on to that territory, up to the Litani, Sneh said: “We
are not talking about days we are talking about longer, but not about months.”
However, two other government officials said Israel’s security cabinet,
which met late yesterday, only approved taking a smaller area of land, a strip
of about seven kilometres (four miles) from the border.
Sneh, a former deputy defence minister, spoke hours after top cabinet ministers
approved a broader ground offensive into southern Lebanon.
“The goal is not to occupy Lebanon,” Sneh said,
adding that the goal is to hold onto the territory until a multinational force
can be deployed to the Israel-Lebanon border.