Arabe League (1964) intended to preempt Israel´s water source

March 30, 2019

Headwater Diversion Plan
Main article: Headwater Diversion Plan (Jordan River)

First summit of Arab Heads of State was convened in Cairo between 13–17 January 1964, called by Nasser the Egyptian president, to discuss a common policy to confront Israel’s national water carrier project which was nearing completion. The second Arab League summit conference voted on a plan which would have circumvent and frustrated it. The Arab and North African states chose to divert the Jordan headwaters rather than the use of direct military intervention. The heads of State of the Arab League considered two options:

The diversion of the Hasbani to the Litani combined with the diversion of the Banias to the Yarmouk,
The diversion of both the Hasbani and the Banias to the Yarmouk.

The Arab league plan selected was for the Hasbani and Banias waters to be diverted to Mukhaiba and stored.[80] The scheme was only marginally feasible, was technically difficult and expensive. Arab political considerations were cited to justify the diversion scheme.[88] In January 1964 an Arab League summit meeting convened in Cairo and decided:

The establishment of Israel is the basic threat that the Arab nation in its entirety has agreed to forestall. And Since the existence of Israel is a danger that threatens the Arab nation, the diversion of the Jordan waters by it multiplies the dangers to Arab existence. Accordingly, the Arab states have to prepare the plans necessary for dealing with the political, economic and social aspects, so that if necessary results are not achieved, collective Arab military preparations, when they are not completed, will constitute the ultimate practical means for the final liquidation of Israel.[89]

After the 2nd Arab summit conference in Cairo of January 1964 (with the backing of all 13 Arab League members), Syria in a joint project with Lebanon and Jordan, started the development of the water resources of Banias for a canal along the slopes of the Golan toward the Yarmouk River. While Lebanon was to construct a canal form the Hasbani River to Banias and complete the scheme.[90][89] The project was to divert 20 to 30 million cubic metres of water from the river Jordan tributaries to Syria and Jordan for the development of Syria and Jordan.[89][91] The Syrian construction of the Banias to Yarmouk canal got under way in 1965. Once completed, the diversion of the flow would have transported the water into a dam at Mukhaiba for use by Jordan and Syria before the waters of the Banias Stream entered Israel and the Sea of Galilee. Lebanon also started a canal to divert the waters of the Hasbani, whose source is in Lebanon, into the Banias. The Hasbani and Banias diversion works would have had the effect of reducing the capacity of Israel’s carrier by about 35% and Israel’s overall water supply by about 11%. Israel declared that it would regard such diversion as an infringement of its sovereign rights. The Finance of the project was through contributions by Saudi Arabia and Egypt.[80] This led to military intervention from Israel, first with tank and artillery fire and then, as the Syrians shifted the works further southwards, with airstrikes.

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