Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)




Christopher Conte


This study explores the historical evolution of the water situation in Palestine at a local level in the West Bank village of Zababdeh. The thesis examines Palestine's geography and the historical relationship of Zababdeh's people with this environment. A sudden shift in this relationship took place during the second half of the 20th century, particularly after the advent of Israeli occupation. The thesis also addresses the Palestinians' involvement, or lack thereof, in water politics of the West Bank during the 20th century. The pattern of neglect has left Palestinians in a weak position to secure safe and reliable water supplies for villages like Zababdeh. Though some have speculated that the water situation in Palestine will one day lead to violent conflict, the example of Zababdeh's water history shows that such conflict has not yet occurred because the village's inhabitants experienced many new water-related conveniences under Israeli occupation. The new conveniences left Zababdeh's people relatively contented and without incentive to fight over water. The study finds that water is an underlying, and sometimes overt stress that has been exacerbating the conflict in Palestine for decades and will continue to foster instability in the region until the people of Palestine all have safe, consistent, and sufficient supplies of water for their needs.




This work made publicly available electronically on May 11, 2011.