What To Do About Water

Haim Watzman

Today’s rollout of a draft model Israeli-Palestinian water accord by EcoPeace/Friends of the Earth Middle East (FOEME) demonstrated several of the salient but frustrating truths about this most urgent area of conflict.

First, it’s solvable. With proper planning, conservation, reuse, and production, there is enough water available for all 11 million Israelis and Palestinians living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Second, it has to be solved now. It can’t wait for a comprehensive peace agreement.

Third, the Palestinians aren’t getting their fair share—and it’s not just the Palestinians who are saying this. Nearly all Israeli experts agree.

Fourth, despite the direness of the situation, Israel’s leaders are doing little to create a political constituency for the changes required.

The FOEME draft agreement, written by David Brooks, a Canadian hydrogeologist and economist, and by Julie Trottier, a Belgian political scientist and chemist, proposes to get away from the zero-sum “dividing up the pie” way of addressing water conflicts and proposes to see water as a dynamic entity.

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Why I’m Not at the Gilad Shalit Demonstration

Haim Watzman

Downtown is closed off, and it looks like half the country is there. So’s my wife, Ilana, who as a soldier’s mother identifies completely with Shalit’s mother. Give Hamas whatever they want, just get the boy home.

Gilad Shalit
As much empathy as I feel for the Shalit family, I can’t agree with that call. As the father of a soldier (two, as of the end of this month), I fear that these well-meaning demonstrators are unwittingly placing my boys in danger. Caving in to Hamas’s demands will reinforce an incentive to kidnap soldiers that, following previous deals, is already too strong. The message is: got demands? Kidnap an IDF serviceman and we’ll give you whatever you want (eventually, after talking tough for a few years).

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First Sheikh Jarrah, Then Baka? — Op-Ed in The Forward

Haim Watzman Mike Huckabee recently made a virulently anti-Zionist remark — and the Jews who accompanied him on his tour of East Jerusalem cheered. “It concerns me when there are some in the United States who would want to tell Israel that it cannot allow people to live in their own country, wherever they want,” … Read more

My Big Fat Iraqi Hummus Joint–“Necessary Stories” from The Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman

Hummus from Robobby's photo streamIlana’s got that look on her face.
“It’s August,” she says, “and all our friends are going to Corfu, Barcelona, and Antalya. But us?”
“If you wanted fancy European vacations, you shouldn’t have married a freelance writer,” I reply. Although, I have to admit there was something quite enticing about exploring the Island of Corfu in a rental car from e-mietwagenkreta.de.
“J.K. Rowling is a freelance writer,” Ilana observes, “and I bet she’s not vacationing in Baghdad this summer.”
“Who wants to go where everyone’s going?” I say. “Seasoned travelers know that the best spots are the ones no one’s discovered yet. Besides, don’t you want to reclaim your inheritance?”
“A burned-out store in the shuk? What good is that going to do me?”
“It may not be much now, but it’ll be prime downtown property in a few years when Iraq is a flourishing Western-style democracy and staunch Israel ally.”

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More on CAMERA and Wikipedia

Journalistic colleagues – in the Jewish and general American media – have emailed me to thank me for my recent column on CAMERA’s apparent efforts to slant Wikipedia articles. The notes came with comments like “batten down the hatches” or “hope they don’t throw eggs at your house.” I felt like the kid who took the dare to walk across the yard of the neighbor who keeps rottweilers, or who talked back to the teacher who still uses a paddle.

Knowing those colleagues, I don’t think any of them would pass up a story or a sentence just because CAMERA will attack them afterward. They are folks who have shown themselves to blessedly, professionally foolhardy. I can’t say I’m sure this is true of everyone in the business. This may please some donors to CAMERA, the attack-dog organization that claims to monitor the media for anti-Israel bias and that barks at any report it perceives as negative: See, those nasty media people have had the fear of God put in them.

Me, I’d think that if you cared about Israel, you really would want accurate info about what’s happening here, which means reports on what’s wrong as well as what’s right – as I’d think you’d prefer the doctors treating family members to be honest. You wouldn’t want the pediatrician to be afraid you’d start roaring at her if she said your kid showed definite signs of junk-food addiction and obesity.

Meanwhile, “dajudem,” a member of the CAMERA-organized group of stealth editors of Wikipedia has posted a fascinating comment on my Prospect column :

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