Israel cutting Palestinian water

Amnesty said the water situation in the
Gaza Strip has reached a “crisis point”
 

Israel
is denying Palestinians adequate access to clean, safe water while
allowing almost unlimited supplies to Israeli settlers in the occupied
West Bank, human rights group Amnesty International has said.

“Swimming pools, well-watered lawns and large irrigated farms in
Israeli settlements… stand in stark contrast next to Palestinian
villages whose inhabitants struggle even to meet their domestic water
needs,” the group said in a report released on Tuesday.



Amnesty
said between 180,000 and 200,000 Palestinians in West Bank rural
communities have no access to running water, while taps in other areas
often run dry.

“Israel allows the Palestinians access to only a fraction of the
shared water resources, which lie mostly in the occupied West Bank”,
Donatella Rovera, an Amnesty researcher, said.

Israel’s
daily water consumption per capita is four times higher than the 70
litre per person consumed in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,
according to the report entitled: Troubled waters – Palestinians denied fair access to water

Shortages

Israel, which itself faces unprecedented water shortages, controls
much of the West Bank’s supplies, pumping from the so-called Mountain
Aquifer that bridges Israel and the territory.

in depth

 

Amnesty report: Troubled Waters (PDF)

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The Amnesty report said Israel uses more than 80 per cent of water
drawn from the aquifer and while Israel has other water sources, the
aquifer is the West Bank’s only supply of water.

In the Gaza Strip, several repair works were under way to improve sanitation before the Israeli blockade was imposed in 2007.

But the projects have been on hold under the siege, as Israel is preventing repair materials from coming into the Strip.

Adding to an already dire situation, Israel’s war on Gaza early this
year left water reservoirs, wells, sewage networks and pumping stations
severely damaged.

The Amnesty report said Gaza’s coastal aquifer, its sole fresh water
resource, has been polluted by infiltration of seawater and raw sewage
and degraded by over-extraction.

The water situation in Gaza had now reached a “crisis point,” with
90 to 95 per cent of the water supply contaminated and unfit for human
consumption, Rovera said.

Israel’s water authority called the report “biased and incorrect, at
the very least” and said that while there is a water gap, it is not
nearly as big as presented by Amnesty.

The authority said Israel had met its obligations under the Oslo
peace agreement but said the Palestinian authorities had failed to meet
their own requirements to recycle water and were not distributing water
efficiently.

 Source: Agencies
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