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March 04, 2003

Lebanon's Wazani River stirs a storm in Israel

Gulf News, an on-line Arab source, reports this latest war over water. Note the "it has been said" as a substitute for evidence that Israel has done what is claimed
Lebanon has proceeded with the implementation of a project to exploit the waters of Al Wazani River that flows through its lands so as to provide Marjeyoun and Amer Mountain districts with this resource that is rare here. However, the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, has threatened Lebanon with war if it goes ahead with its project.

The Lebanese government has rejected Israel's threats. Meanwhile, the U.S. has decided to send an envoy to mediate between the two parties. The following is the Arab press's discussion of these developments.

In 1964, the Arab League's decision to divert the tributaries of the Jordan River encouraged Lebanon to divert the course of Al Wazani River. At that time, Israel attacked Lebanon so as to halt the work.

In 1978, Israel carried out another military campaign, this time to control the Al Litani River which was called the "Al Litani operation". Next, it invaded South Lebanon in 1982. From then onwards, Israel has started a systematic stealing of Al Litani water, writes Rajeh Al Khouri in Akhbar Al-Arab (UAE).

It has also been said that Israel has dug tunnels under the river that runs along the Shaqif Arnon Castle in order to steal water. In addition, it has stolen waters of the Al Hasbani and Al Wazani rivers which have a total quantity of 450 million cubic metres, of which Israel obtains 440 million cubic metres, adds Al Khouri.

The work being undertaken at Al Wazani River by Lebanon will help it obtain more water for its lands. Hence, Sharon has threatened Lebanon, saying that such an action is sufficient reason for war, says Al Khouri.

But Lebanon has continued with this work and clarified to the international community that it obtains only a small amount of water, adds Al Khouri.[more]