International Relations Role-Play:

Water on the West Bank


Susan Podziba and Lawrence Susskind

Seven-person, four-issue mediation among three Israeli water authority and regional representatives and three Palestinian water authority and political representatives over plans to drill a new well on the West Bank


Please note: you must order a copy (a.k.a. license/usage fee) for every person participating in the simulation in your course. This simulation has multiple roles, so you will be unable to complete your purchase without meeting the minimum quantity requirement of copies per role.

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PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.

Bulk Pricing Discount

For bulk orders, we offer the following pricing discounts. Please note that these only apply to bulk orders of the same simulation.

  • Between 100-250 copies – 10% discount
  • Between 251-500 copies – 25% discount
  • More than 500 copies – 50% discount
Log In or Register to download the free Teacher's Package Sample.


An Israeli water company has announced plans to drill new well on the West Bank which would pump 18 million cubic meters of water each year. According to plans, about 70% of the water would be consumed by residents of Jerusalem and Jewish settlements, whilst only about 30% would be allocated to Palestinian communities. The project is controversial because it threatens to deplete an existing well used by Arab communities in the area. The simulation is loosely based on an actual proposal to drill a deep water well near Bethlehem.



  • This case illustrates the importance of knowing your aspirations and BATNA in a negotiation.
  • Focus on interests; not positions.
  • Separate people from the problem and avoid escalation traps.
  • Because this is a multi-party, multi-issue simulation, coalitions may form. Negotiation strategies based on coalitions can be explored.
  • This exercise illustrates ways to balance multiple sources of power.



For information on the use of this simulation with Israeli and Palestinian students, see Program on Negotiation Working Paper 88-3, also available through the Clearinghouse.



Time Requirements:

Reading and preparation – 30 mins

Negotiation – 120 mins

Debrief – 45 mins

Total 205 mins


Facility needs:

Room with seating for 7. Flip chart or white board recommended



For all parties:

  • General Instructions


Role Specific:

  • Confidential Instructions for:
  • The Civil Administration, Coordinator of Activities in the Territories
  • Water Commission, Deputy Commissioner for the Gush Etzion Region
  • Mekorot, Project Manager
  • Mayor of Bethlehem
  • Bethlehem Water Authority, Chairman of the Board of Directors
  • Landowners and Farmers Committee, Representative
  • Mediator


Teacher's Package:

  • All of the above
  • Teaching Note



Aspirations; BATNA; Caucusing; Coalitions; Creativity; Credibility; Cross cultural negotiations; Group process; Integrative bargaining; Interest analysis; Mediation; Middle East negotiations; Multi-party negotiations; Options, generation; Packaging; Power imbalance; Preparation; Relationships; Science-intensive policy disputes; Separating the people from the problem; Water negotiations



Managing the Ground Water beneath the Pablo-Burford Border

Water on the West Bank Attributes

Time required: 2-3 hours
Number of participants: 7
Teams involved: Yes
Agent present: Non-lawer
Neutral third party present: Mediator
Scoreable: No
Teaching notes available: Yes
Non-English version available: German