US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt announced on Thursday that Israel and the Palestinian Authority have reached an agreement which will provide millions of cubic meters of drinking water to the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
The long-discussed Red Sea-Dead Sea Canal, which includes the sale of 33 million cubic meters of water to the Palestinian Authority, will relieve the water situation for Palestinians.
Israel will start to provide the West Bank and Gaza Strip with the water in the immediate future at a reduced rate.
That water will eventually be supplied by a desalination plant linked to the Red Sea-Dead Sea pipeline project, agreed on between Jordan and Israel in 2015. Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians first signed a memorandum of understanding for setting up the conduit in December 2013. The pipeline is expected to be completed in four to five years.
This agreement is not the first energy deal announced between the Israelis and Palestinians this week. On Monday they reached an agreement which would establish a mechanism for the PA-owned Palestinian Electric Company to purchase electricity from the Israel Electric Company, which will provide electricity to a Palestinian power substation in Jalame, a village outside of Jenin.
While the Palestinians made plain that the deal, brokered Mr Greenblatt, has no impact on final-status issues in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Greenblatt hailed it as a “harbinger of things to come.”
He said: “This agreement is an example of the parties working together to make a mutual beneficial deal”.