Klinghoffer opera opening choruses
2017 National Geographic production Parched: Global Water Wars
NPR All Things Considered for Jan. 15, 2018 (McEvers/Baconi)
Adams' opera propaganda choruses in The Death of Klinghoffer
Prologue: CHORUS OF EXILED PALESTINIANS
My father's house was razed
In nineteen forty-eight
When the Israelis passed
Over our street.
The house was built of stone
With a courtyard inside
Where, on a hot day, one
Could sit in shade
Under a tree, and have
A glass of something cool.
Coolness rose like a wave
From our pure well.
No one was turned away.
The doorstep had worn down:
I see in my mind's eye
A crescent moon.
Of that house, not a wall
In which a bird might nest
Was left to stand. Israel
Laid all to waste.
Though we have paid to drink
Our water, and our wood
Is sold to us, we thank
The only God.
Let the supplanter look
Upon his work. Our faith
Will take the stones he broke
And break his teeth.
CHORUS OF EXILED JEWS
When I paid off the taxi, I had no money left,
And, of course, no luggage. My empty handsshall
Signify this passion, which itself remembers.
O Daughter of Zion, when you lay upon my
I was like a soldier who lies beneath the earth
Of his homeland, resolved.
You said, "I am an old woman. I thought you
I have forgotten how often we betrayed one
My hide is worn thin, covered with scars and
Now only doctors gather at my bedside, to tell
The Almighty has prepared for me.
A woman comes in to keep the place looking
Let us, when our lust is exhausted for the day,
Recount to each other all we endured since we
Parted. There is so much to get through, it will
Take until night. Then we shall rise,
Virgin, boy and bride.
To me you are a land of Jerusalem stone;
Your scars are holy places. There, under
My hands, the last wall of the Temple. There
The Dome of the Rock. And there the apartments,
The forest planted in memory,
The Movie houses picketed by Hasidim, the
Barracks, the orchard where a goat climbs
Your neighbour, the one who let me in,
She was brought up on stories of our love.
<End Klinghoffer opera excerpt>
2017 National Geographic Channel transcript for Parched: Global Water Wars
Arnon Soffer, Israeli geographer and a professor of Geography and environmental sciences, specialising in water issues and demography.
Yoav Barkay-Arbel, Israeli process engineer.
Dr. Uri Shani, former general manager and chairman of the Israeli Governmental Water & Sewer Authority.
Miriam Faigon, Israeli engineer and researcher.
Dr. Shaddad Attili, head of the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA);
Abdel Rahman Tamimi, Director General, Palestinian Hydrology Group.
Brahma Chellaney, Professor of Strategic Studies at the New Delhi based Center
for Policy Research.
Dr. Aaron Wolf, Professor and Department Chair of Geosciences at Oregon State University; specializing in transboundary water conflicts.
Narrator: Solving the water crisis in the Middle East could take nothing short of a miracle. Between the desert and the Mediterranean, one country in the Middle East seems to have plenty of water. But only a few years ago, Israel was facing the worst drought in its history.
(Film clip from several years ago).
Woman: Right now, Israel's water supply is in danger of drying up. Severe drought is threatening everything we worked so hard to achieve.
Soffer: The drought was terrible. We reached 2009, and Israel was really in a terrible crisis.
Shani: When I was nominated for the head of the Water Authority, I never think that I'll have to face this kind of crisis. But I realized, after a very short time, that practically there is no water.
Woman (speaking Hebrew): There was a famous commercial in Israel. You could see the face of a nice woman, or a very famous actor or a basketball player, and through talking to you, their faces were cracks. Everybody immediately was aware that there is a serious problem, and the water consumption decreased by 20 percent immediately.
Narrator: A massive investment in water recycling enabled the country to reuse of up to 85 percent of its wastewater. But drinking water was still in short supply.
Faigon: The state of Israel understood that we cannot develop the country as we would like to without having a reliable resource of stable water available for all the people in Israel.
Reporter: The real leap forward has been in desalination technology, vastly improving Israel's ability to turn salty water into fresh drinking water.
Wolf: Israel decided to move into desalination for a lot of reasons, not least of which were the politics of being an isolated country. As a political and strategic move, they decided to invest heavily in desalination, and it absolutely changed the game in Israel.
Narrator: High pressure pumps force seawater through ultrafine membranes, filtering out the salt. The purified water then flows into the national water system.
Barkay-Arbel: Out of drinking supply of around one billion cubic meters per year in Israel, around 60 percent comes from the desalination plants. So it's a revolution.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: We're the number one recycler of wastewater in the world. We have desalinization. Israel has no water problems.
Wolf: Desalinization is deeply dependent on the cost of energy, and so you can only use it when the water is going to drinking water, when that population is on the coast, and when there's no other options.
Chellaney: Right now, desalinated water can be three or four times more expensive than conventional water, and it produces residues which are toxic and have to be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner. But if desalination becomes cost-effective eventually, it'll fundamentally change the geopolitics of water. It'll turn the geopolitics of water on its head.
Faigon: As an engineer, I believe that we need to bring some value to our planet. And you are in the middle of an arid area, you don't have water, which is essential for life. Supplying water is like creating life.
Narrator: Israel's revolution has transformed life in the country. But this water miracle in the Holy Land also has a darker side.
Wolf: Since 1967, the West Bank has been under military law by Israel, and the water resources of the West Bank are under the same military occupation as the rest of the resources. Access to drinking water, treatment of sewage, all of these things are much more difficult within Palestinian territories than they are within Israel.
Tamimi: 30 percent of the Palestinians receive water less than three hours a week. Our houses are connected, but no water in the pipes.
Narrator: Chronic water shortages plague most of the 2.8 million Palestinians in the West Bank. Hundreds of thousands live without access to any water infrastructure.
Tamimi: In some villages and some cities, they purchase water by tankers, and this is very expensive, and the quality-wise, very bad.
Narrator: The West Bank is actually surrounded by water. The Jordan River flows along its eastern border, and the territory sits atop the region's biggest aquifers. Under Israeli occupation, Palestinians are barred from accessing the River, and from tapping into the water underground [aquifers]. To make up for the shortage, most Palestinians have no choice but to buy water from the Israeli national water company, Mekorot.
Attili: Mekorot is the Israeli national company that distributes water. They control a set of wells in the West Bank. So people now paying one third of their income to purchase water from Mekorot. So Mekorot basically is selling our water back to us.
Wolf: The flow of hydrology makes the politics really complicated. the aquifers that Israel relies on for a third of their water supply originate within the West Bank. Palestinians upstream see that the aquifers are within the West Bank, they argue that that's Palestinian water. The water flows into Israeli territory, and Israel's been tapping that water since the 1950s, and they see that they have rights to the water as a consequence.
Soffer: If you will allow the Palestinians to do what they would like to do, they will dry up completely the aquifer. We have to keep the water under national authorities.
Attili: This is a big problem. Who owns the water? In the reality, who controls the water is Israel. We do not have access to our resources in the West Bank. We do not control the water underneath our feet.
Narrator: In 1995, a follow-up to the historic Oslo Accords between the Israelis and Palestinians allocated 80 percent of groundwater to Israel. The agreement was supposed to last five years. but 20 years later, the Palestinian population has boomed, while many say their share of the water remains virtually the same.
Reporter: The taps in the homes of Arab villages in the West Bank, they run dry most of the time, as they complain Israel doesn't satisfy even their minimum water needs.
Tamimi: Most of the cities in Palestine, they store water on their roofs to have water in their houses, because the regular water is not running, and this is what we call black forest because if you look to the Palestinian roofs, it's full with the black storage tanks.
Narrator: Israel encourages its citizens to move to settlements in the West Bank, in part by ensuring that water flows more freely in these exclusive compounds.
Barkay-Arbel: All the settlements in the West Bank are connected to our systems, yes, and receive water from Mekorot. They receive water from other local sources, too, but the main supply comes from, from us.
Narrator: The Israeli government has supported the construction of over 120 settlements across the West Bank. Some studies claim that the 380,000 Israelis living in the settlements consume up to four times the amount of water as the West Bank's Palestinian population.
Attili: Well, the settlement is, it's this is what making our life miserable. The settlements are taking most of their water from our aquifers, from the wells that drilled in the West Bank.
Wolf: A lot of the world sees the settlements as illegal, and from the Palestinian perspective they're not just illegal, they're immoral.
Attili: The point is obvious. It's just to force people to leave the land, because when you don't have water, people leave.
Attili: This is the daily sufferance of people that don't have source of water. They rely on tanks, heavy price of water, and water is not available all the time. Wherever there is water, there is people, there is life, there is prosperity. Wherever you don't have water, there is desert, and there is no life.
Narrator: Water conflict has racked the region since Israel's founding. But half a continent away, a far larger water war is threatening to erupt.
[three minute commercial break]
Wolf: Israel always has been very conscious of its water resources. Out of the 38 cases of actual violence worldwide since World War II around shared waters, 27 of these were between Israelis and Arabs.
Soffer: For us, the water was part of the fulfillment of the Zionist dream. The ambition to bring all the Jewish people here needs a lot of water.
Narrator: Water has fueled tensions with Israel's Arab neighbors since the country's foundation, culminating in the six-day war of 1967.
Reporter: The Syrian ceasefire for all practical purposes ends the war, and it is safe to say that things will never again be the same in the Middle East.
Narrator: At the war's end, Israel had acquired land. But the real prize was under the surface.
Wolf: The Six-Day War had a lot of other causes, but having said that, at the end of the war, Israel now gained, with the Golan Heights, the headwaters of the Jordan basin. With the West Bank, they gained the aquifers on which they had been depending since the 1950s. And so their, what we call, hydro-strategic positioning was made infinitely better by the territory gained in the war.
Chellaney: Ariel Sharon said that the Six-Day War was as much about water as about land. In one stroke, Israel went from being dependent on trans-boundary water inflows, to being the trans-boundary water controller of its sub-region. So that war was a water war of a kind that we have rarely seen in modern times.
Narrator: Some Israelis claim that control over the West Bank's aquifers is critical to preventing Palestinian over-drilling.
Shani: The problem of drilling wells in the West Bank, if Israel loses control of the aquifer, if its water level drops a few meters, we have a penetration of seawater into the aquifer, and then we all lose it, and that's it.
Narrator: The dangers of Over-pumping the aquifer are already evident just 30 miles from the West Bank, in the other isolated Palestinian territory of Gaza. In 2005, Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip, ceding control of the coastal aquifer underneath.
Soffer: I remember in Gaza when we told them, 'be careful, because if you allow unlawful wells, they will dry the aquifer.' Today, more than 6,000 wells. No more aquifer water in Gaza.
Attili: There is a huge crisis in Gaza, because in Gaza our water is polluted, our water isn't fit for human use. And if we don't do anything, if we don't address the situation in Gaza, by 2020 damage is irreversible.
Narrator: Israel's new water surplus could either foster hydro-diplomacy or simply strengthen its position of power.
Barkay-Arbel: Maybe 10 or 20 years ago, I would say that water is a conflict, and we have to preserve our water sources, and we have to keep it safe for us, only for us. We actually produce more than we consume now, so we can give water or sell water to our neighbors.
Attili: Three years ago, Israel announced we don't have anymore a water crisis. So I stopped to them and I said, 'Okay, congratulations, you don't have any water crisis, would you please give us back our water?'
Tamimi: The Palestinian people will not keep silent forever. If the Israelis continue their unwise policy, they will pay very high price. that is more violence.
Narrator: The conflict here is a warning of what can happen when one population controls the water of another.
<End of Israeli-Palestinian segment>
NPR All Things Considered
Jan. 15, 2018 Monday
What Effect ISIS' Declaration Of War Against Hamas Could Have In The Middle East
KELLY MCEVERS: In the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, ISIS has declared war on another extremist group, Hamas. In a video, ISIS militants called on their followers to bomb Hamas locations. And then the video ends with the execution of an alleged Hamas operator. To help us understand what's happening and why, we are joined by Tareq Baconi. He is a visiting scholar at Columbia University's Middle East Institute and the author of the forthcoming book "Hamas Contained." Welcome.
TAREQ BACONI: Thank you for having me.
KELLY MCEVERS: So the United States considers both ISIS and Hamas to be terrorist groups, but these two are obviously not allies. How do you explain the animosity between them?
TAREQ BACONI: Well, you're absolutely right. The two are not allies in the least. And actually, both ISIS and Hamas are vastly different organizations, that to even put them together as extremist organizations might overlook a lot of the differences that the two movements have. So for ISIS, ISIS is a transnational terror network that has this vision of recreating the Islamic caliphate, of imposing Sharia law. And it has an ideology that's based on fighting what it views as Western hegemony by carrying out sensationalist terrorist attacks all over the world. Hamas, on the other hand, is a national liberation movement that is...
KELLY MCEVERS: Right.
TAREQ BACONI: ...Tethered to a very specific geographic context and that is focused on a very clear political goal, which is ending an occupation that's deemed illegal by international law.
KELLY MCEVERS: Well, what is it that they're competing for?
TAREQ BACONI: So it's not necessarily that they are competing. They're working towards different goals entirely. ISIS is looking to, as I said, recreate an Islamic caliphate. So it looks that Hamas as an apostate movement. It doesn't view Hamas even as an Islamic movement. There are specific reasons that ISIS has for this particular attack.
First, it's said that it's fighting Hamas because Hamas is imprisoning its own members within the Gaza Strip. It says that it's fighting Hamas because Hamas has failed to stop President Trump from declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And it's fighting Hamas because it says Hamas is being supported by Iran, which is obviously a Shia power and seen by ISIS as an apostate government, not as Muslims.
KELLY MCEVERS: Right. So how far could this escalate? I mean, could these two groups actually go to war with each other? And if they did, what would that mean for the region?
TAREQ BACONI: Well, I think that would be unlikely. I think it's important to know that even though this is a declaration of war that happened recently, the relationship between ISIS and Hamas has been very complex since 2007 when Hamas came to power in the Gaza Strip. So this is just the latest of quite a violent relationship that the two organizations have had. Hamas has since 2009 had a very repressive approach towards any form of Salafi jihadist movements in Gaza. So even as recently as last summer, there was a suicide bombing attack by ISIS against Hamas' military wing in the Gaza Strip. So what we're seeing now isn't much of a new development.
One thing I would say is that Hamas militarily isn't necessarily that threatened by ISIS in Gaza. There's maybe a handful of people, maybe tens of individuals in Gaza that declared themselves to be Salafis jihadists. The situation is slightly different in the Sinai Peninsula where ISIS is a very volatile, very violent presence. And it's going to continue focusing on Egyptian targets. It's going to carry out violent attacks of the likes of the horrific attack that happened against a Sufi mosque in November. And it's going to try to carry out large-scale attacks to shift the defeat it's facing in Syria and Iraq.
KELLY MCEVERS: Tareq Baconi is a visiting scholar at Columbia University's Middle East Institute. Thank you very much.
TAREQ BACONI: Thank you for having me.
<End of NPR ATC Jan. 15, 2018 transcript>