The water relations in the Jordan River Basin are an often-analysed case of decision-making under terms of water scarcity. However, most of these studies fail to address the underlying structures, which are the focal point in the formation of each of the basin parties' water policy. This paper argues that it is necessary to analyse the domestic structures of the parties since the policies pursued in the international arena are likely to be a reflection of the domestic discourse. Particular emphasis is put on how domestic structures affect and create sanctioned discourses and how these in turn affect foreign policy decision-making with regards to water. The various dominant discourses in three of the parties in the Jordan River Basin - Jordan, Israel and the Palestine Authority - are analysed. Failing to acknowledge the explanatory power of this line of thinking runs the risk of reaching simplified conclusions, such as - “the policy-makers do not understand water issues” - instead of acknowledging that the power of the discourse perhaps gave them little choice. The paper draws on a variety of disciplines such as international relations theory, sociology and science studies.

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