Temps de lecture :2 minutes
Israel stretches for over about 22 000 km2 between the mountains of Galilee to the North and the Negev desert to the South. The country has 7 million inhabitants and 70% of them live along the Mediterranean coast. The Tiberias Lake and the River Jordan, the region’s only big lake, are the two main sources of freshwater. They have both been developed to provide the whole country with water and to irrigate the arid Israeli land. Water is a geopolitical issue between the Hebrew State and its neighbours : it partly caused the annexation of the Golan Heights, a regional water tower that supplies water to the Tiberias Lake. The Jordan’s waters are controlled by the West Bank.
Waters. In Israel, annual water consumption is over 3 billion m3 whereas renewable reserves are estimated at 2.4 billion m3 a year. Desalination plants have been built to make up for the poor hydric resources : once it is finished, the one in Sorek will be the biggest plant of its kind in the world and produce 150 million cubic meters of drinking water a year.
Pollution. According to the estimates of the Israeli NGO, Zalul, almost 100 million cubic meters of wastewater are washed into the ocean every year. In big towns, car traffic is the main cause of atmospheric pollution. The arable land is affected by chemical fertilisers and pesticides. The Ministry of Health estimated that environmental pollution was responsible for 1250 deaths a year in the country.
Occupied territories. Sanitary and environmental conditions in the occupied territories (the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) are extremely difficult. Inhabitants find it difficult to get drinking water and farmers have problems accessing freshwater.
The Israel Union for Environmental Defense set up in 1990 was the first Israeli environmental NGO to use legal means to protect the environment. It also introduced the principle of eco-citizenship to make up for the lack of governmental measures.
Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) is an organisation that is unlike any other in the Middle East: it brings together Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli environmentalists who defend the concept of peace through the environment. They believe that cooperation is vital to preserving their common environmental heritage, and thus hope to bring the populations closer and create conditions for lasting peace in the region.
The statistical data on our interactive atlas only applies to the State of Israel within the borders recognised by the United Nations (the source of most of the data we use).