In Brief... Middle East: War Exercises and Water

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In Brief... Middle East

War Exercises and Water

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Responding to the increasing tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, the United States recently sent a Patriot anti-missile defense battery to Israel. The battery is manned by 400 members of the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade who will participate in a joint exercise with Israel beginning February 8 in cooperation with the newly elected Israeli government. The exercise will last 15 days.

An increasingly important issue in the Middle East is water. The availability of water is important enough a concern to be included in the "final status" issues yet to be resolved between the Israelis and Palestinians. It's also a key element in Israel's reluctance to surrender the Golan Heights in order to achieve a peace agreement with Syria.

Arabs are understandably jealous over the amount of water possessed and used by Israel. Israel's per capita daily use of water is about 66 gallons. In Syria, the average citizen uses 50 gallons of water per day. In Lebanon, the rate is 41 gallons per day in contrast to Jordan, where the average citizen uses 25 gallons every day. In stark contrast is the consumption rate of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, where the people manage on only 20 gallons per capita per day-and their water is heavily polluted with nitrates.

Sources:;, Inc.; Time, Inc.