“To exist is to resist”: this statement has become the key slogan for Palestinians that are living in the Jordan Valley to express their daily struggle in order to have access to water, land and human dignity. Water should be without boundaries, it should flow naturally and freely, but this vital resource is also becoming embedded in power relations and in forms of exploitation. Water control, its allocation and distribution, can be used as a means of oppression. In a situation of conflict, water and its management are strictly associated with authority and power. In Israel and Palestine, water is a politically contested resource.
This research was executed at the site during two months of field work in the West Bank. It analyzes and compares how a lack of access to and fair distribution of water (in terms of quantity and availability) for agricultural use are affecting two Palestinian villages, versus the situation for their two neighbors, Israeli settlements in a strategic area of the Jordan Valley. The Echelon of Rights Analysis developed by Rutgerd Boelens (2008) and the Lukes (1974) three dimensions of power were used to analyze how power relations within the two locations are affecting the access to water for its users. In addition, I collected and analyzed data on how water users (both Palestinian and Israeli) are dealing with this situation. Finally, I analyzed the strengths and the limits for establishing an IWRM plan in the area.