This article explores the process of reforming Palestinian water laws, in particular the last water law enacted in 2014. These legislative reforms are part of an international context of modernization of water laws, as well as a national Palestinian context of water management reform, which began in 2008. They reflect the key ideas formulated in the Dublin Statement of 1992. The purpose of this article is to deconstruct the process of Palestinian water management reforms to understand the real power struggles at play. To achieve this, we will analyze the political and discursive context of the production of the Palestinian water law of 2014, which aims to establish a more democratic management of water resources, notably through a process of decentralizing the Palestinian Water Authority in favor of new actors, such as regional suppliers or even water user associations. However, this has failed, and this article shows how it ignored local hydro-political constellations and power struggles between the different actors implicated in this water management. The power that the Palestinian Water Authority has remains limited. It faces the challenges of the reality of legal pluralism, which in practice translates to the management of Palestinian water. The Israeli occupation exacerbates these challenges. However, legislative tools such as the 2014 water law and recent regulations are paving the way for the gradual advancement of the pawns involved in the centralization of water resource management. The analysis of legislative documents, coupled with Palestinian strategies and internal dynamics, reveals these dynamics of centralization that threaten local water management practices.
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