In a series of briefings last week on Capitol Hill and with Jewish organizations, a team of experts from Israel presented data indicating that if action to stop global warming is not taken immediately, moderate regimes in the Middle East might collapse and tensions between Israel and its neighbors might rise due to a decrease in rainfall, loss of water sources and increase in extreme weather phenomena.Already, according to Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, rainfall is down and summer is getting hotter. (That sounds a lot like Los Angeles.)
The main changes, the Israeli experts predicted, would be a drop in the water supply — already a scarce commodity in the Middle East — and an expected rise in temperature that will make it even more difficult to replenish water sources. According to the information presented this week, if action is not taken, then Israel might be facing a loss of up to 100 millimeters of rain a year — almost 20% of the country’s annual rainfall.
For Israel, water shortages could influence not only its population but also the future of its relations with neighboring countries. Israel is already facing difficulties fulfilling its agreement — as part of its 1994 peace treaty with Jordan — to transfer water to the Hashemite kingdom, and will face great problems when trying to work out water arrangements with Palestinians in a final status agreement. The Jordanian monarchy, which is based on support of the agricultural communities, might be in danger. The same is true for the Palestinian leadership, which might encounter an uprising of extremists who will feed on the poverty and despair caused by the collapse of agriculture due to lack of water.
In Egypt, the expected rise of the Mediterranean Sea level could flood rich areas in the Nile’s Delta and lead to food shortages, which could destabilize the regime.