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Battir: A Heritage of Water and International Cooperation

Created on 11 July 2014
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Battir is a village in Palestine known for its ancient irrigation system. Dating back to the Roman era (2,000 years ago), the system combines terracing of fields with using underground springs as the soource of water. It came under threat as Israel started constructing a separation wall that would run right through the system, disrupting the intricate water supply channels.

In 2007, the village of Battir sued the Isareli defence ministry for the threat the wall posed to the cultural heritage and practical utility of the irrigation system. They found an unlikely ally in the Isarel Nature and Parks Authority that retracted its approval of the wall plans. This led the Israeli High Court of Justice to stay the construction of the wall in 2013, and ask the defence ministry to amend construction plans so they did not disrupt the irrigation system any more.

The Palestinian campaign got a big shot in the arm in July 2014, when UNESCO listed Battir in its World Heritage List and on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Any future encroachment upon the system would now be very difficult to pursue.  

More info: http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1154 
Produced by: TheWaterChannel
Year: 2014
Language: English
Region: Palestine, Arab region, Middle East, West Asia




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