ABSTRACT: Do there exist instances of international (water) policy coordination which are so unequal that they should not even be considered 'cooperation'? This article argues, on both theoretical and empirical grounds, that this is indeed so. Theoretically, it posits that 'cooperation' should be distinguished from 'policy coordination', and that situations of policy coordination without mutual adjustments or joint gains should instead be considered instances of 'domination'. And empirically, it illustrates the existence of such relations of domination through an analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee (JWC), using new evidence from JWC negotiation files, plus interviews with leading Israeli and Palestinian participants. Most startlingly, the article finds that under the constraints of JWC 'cooperation', the Palestinian Authority has been compelled to lend its formal approval to the large-scale expansion of Israeli settlement water infrastructures, activity which is both illegal under international law and one of the major impediments to Palestinian statehood. The article suggests the need for both the complete restructuring of Israeli-Palestinian water 'cooperation', and for further research on relations of domination, and the ideology of cooperation, within international (water) politics.
Hydro-Hegemony in the upper Jordan waterscape: Control and use of the flows, by Mark Zeitoun, Karim Eid-Sabbagh, Michael Talhami and Muna Dajani
ABSTRACT: This paper blends the analytical framework of hydro-hegemony with a waterscape reading to explore the use and methods of control of the Upper Jordan River flows. Seen as a sub-component of the broader Lebanon-Israel-Syria political conflict, the struggles over water are interpreted through evidence from the colonial archives, key informant interviews, media pieces, and policy and academic literature. Extreme asymmetry in the use and control of the basin is found to be influenced by a number of issues that also shape the concept of 'international waterscapes': political borders, domestic pressures and competition, perceptions of water security, and other non-material factors active at multiple spatial scales. Israeli hydro-hegemony is found to be independent of its riparian position, and due in part to its greater capacity to exploit the flows. More significant are the repeated Israeli expressions of hard power which have supported a degree of (soft) 'reputational' power, and enable control over the flows without direct physical control of the territory they run through – which is referred to here as 'remote' control. The 2002 Lebanese challenge of the hegemony established shows that full consent has never been achieved, however, and suggests the maintenance of hydro-hegemony in this international waterscape relies on the reconstitution of reputational power.