Israel's feud with the Palestinians over dwindling West Bank water resources stymied a European Union effort on April 13 to secure a water management strategy for a Mediterranean region where 290 million people will face shortages by 2025. The same day, Egypt categorically refused to sign an agreement on sharing the waters of the River Nile with nine African nations. In March, Israeli troops shot dead a 16-year-old Palestinian and critically wounded another teenager in a clash with Jewish settlers over a well near the city of flashpoint city of Nablus in the West Bank. That's an extreme case, to be sure. But it reflects the swelling tension in the Palestinian territory, which Israel is slicing up with its security barrier and annexing a large chunk of land Palestinians want for a future state. The Palestinians claim Israel is stealing their water, while the 400,000 Jewish settlers are up in arms because they fear they will be forced to abandon the West Bank as part of a peace deal. The March 20 bloodshed in Nablus, many fear, is a portent of the battle ahead as the water shortage goes beyond crisis, worsened by years of drought, growing Israeli requirements and on the Arab side, poor conservation and planning. Across the Middle East, the region's main rivers and aquifers are a source of conflict. Turkey's ambitious dam-building program has cut the water flow of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers through Syria and Iraq. The Nile, at 6,560km the world's longest river, is increasingly in contention between Egypt, Sudan and eight other African nations. The Palestinians and Lebanese accuse Israel of stealing their water. The Jordan River, which flows from the Sea of Galilee (the Israelis call it Lake Kinneret) into the Dead Sea, has been reduced to a trickle. Friends of the Earth Middle East, an environmental organization, warned in a May 3 report that large stretches of the Jordan, which the Bible described as "overflowing", could dry up by next year. Israel, Jordan and Syria have diverted some 98 percent of the river and its tributaries over the years. Only 20 million-39 million cubic meter flow through it now, a tiny fraction of the 1.3 billion recorded in the 1930s.