An Evaluation of Public Concerns About Water Management in the Palestinian Territory Pre, During, and Post the National Uprising

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Abstract

We have evaluated the extent of public concerns about water management in the Palestinian Territory (PT) through a survey of the main Palestinian newspaper over the last thirteen years divided in three periods: pre (1984–1987), during (1988–1991), and post national uprising period (1992–1996). The public concern in the PT about various water management aspects was clear and influenced by the prevailing political conditions indicating (1) poor concerns in the first and second period where full Israeli military control of the PT and harsh practices prevailed with relatively more emphasis on regional water issues and (2) extensive-strong concerns in the third period when the peace process started and a partial lift of some of the Israeli water practices took place, along with an increased freedom in expressing public concerns which was granted with more emphasis on local issues and problems. Lack and limitation of water available to Palestinians, alternative solutions, and water quality and pollution control constituted the overwhelming majority of the topics of concern to the public for the three periods studied. Palestinian concerns were always greater than regional ones for the three periods and all of the topics considered. Public concern in the PT about all other water management aspects was poor and negligible especially in the first two periods. A massive increase in public concern has been observed in the third period in which the public expressed their concern over most water management aspects, indicating a possible change in public attitude toward water and water management and reflecting the change of the political status by the start of the peace process and the signing of the peace agreements.

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