[News] Israeli settlers use six times more water than Palestinians

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Apr 8 15:37:42 EDT 2013


  *Israeli settlers use six times more water than Palestinians --- new 
report*

Submitted by Adri Nieuwhof on Mon, 04/08/2013 - 12:21
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/adri-nieuwhof/israeli-settlers-use-six-times-more-water-palestinians-new-report

Israeli settlers in the West Bank consume six times as much water as 
Palestinians living nearby, the human rights organization Al Haq has found.

In a new report 
<http://www.alhaq.org/publications/Water-For-One-People-Only.pdf> 
released today, the organization exposes how Israel operates a system of 
water apartheid. Palestinian communities are strangled by Israel's water 
policies through unlawful exploitation and appropriation of water 
resources, confiscation and destruction of water infrastructure and 
restriction of water supply, it says.

Al Haq concludes that Israel's water apartheid 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/apartheid> policies are based on 
three pillars. The first pillar concerns the distinction between two 
racial groups. The second pillar consists of the policies and practices 
that facilitate the segregation of the population into different 
geographical areas. The third pillar rests upon the use of "security" 
laws to "justify" inhuman acts against Palestinians.

It is important underscore that Israel's water policies are part of an 
institutionalized system of domination and oppression.


    Two distinct groups

The first pillar of water apartheid requires the distinction of two 
groups, which is a core element of the crime of apartheid. The first 
group are the Palestinians who over the years have been unwillingly 
sub-divided into Palestinians citizens of Israel, Palestinians living in 
the West Bank and Gaza, and Palestinian refugees living in exile. All 
are Palestinian, because of their identity as the indigenous people of 
historic Palestine. In addition, their right to self-determination is 
internationally recognized.

The second group is composed of Jewish-Israelis, meaning "Israelis with 
Jewish identity," an official category imposed and monitored by the 
State of Israel. It recognizes a person as a member of the global Jewish 
community, thereby granting certain rights, such as residency. The Basic 
Laws --- the closest thing that Israel has to a written constitution --- 
distinguishes the group as "Jewish nationals." While Palestinians living 
in Israel can be citizens, nationality of Israel is reserved for Jews.


    Segregation

Israel has used the distinction between the Palestinian and 
Jewish-Israeli groups to segregate the population into different 
geographical areas --- the second pillar of water apartheid. Inside 
Israel, the distinction is used to grant citizenship to only those 
Palestinians who remained inside Israel after 1948. At the same time, 
Israeli citizenship is granted beyond its territory to all Jews, 
regardless of their geographical location, personal history or 
affiliation to the territory.

In the West Bank, the segregation policies have resulted in two parallel 
and unequal societies. A privileged Jewish-Israeli settler society lives 
in illegal colonies with good conditions, including an uninterrupted, 
abundant supply of water. By contrast, the indigenous Palestinian 
society is denied most of its basic rights, including sovereignty over 
its own water resources.

Palestinians are forcibly confined to land-locked enclaves with minimum 
water resources available. As a result, Palestinian communities are 
strangled and cannot fully develop as a group: denying such development 
is considered an inhuman act under the UN's 1973 Apartheid Convention. 
The commission of inhuman acts against the subordinate group is the 
second core element of the definition of apartheid.


    Strangulation

In its report, Al Haq provides extensive information about how Israel's 
discriminatory water policies lead to the strangulation of Palestinian 
communities. For example, water apartheid policies result in huge 
differences in water consumption. For example, the consumption of over 
500,000 Israeli settlers 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/israeli-settlers> in the West Bank 
is about six times higher than that of 2.6 million Palestinians in the 
West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem.)

Moreover, the Palestinian average water consumption of 73 liter per 
capita per day does not reach the minimum consumption level of 100 
liters recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Israelis 
living inside Israel use about 300 liters and Israeli settlers in the 
West Bank use 369 liters each per day.

By September 2011, around 313,000 Palestinians were not connected to a 
water network. And about 50,000 Palestinians from 151 communities had to 
live on less than 20 liters each per day, an amount WHO recommends for 
"short-term survival" in emergency and disaster situations.

In occupied East Jerusalem, more than 50 percent of the Palestinians 
living there ---  around 160,000 people --- do not have legal water 
connections because Israeli law does not allow it, mainly because the 
required housing permits are not issued. Furthermore, some Palestinian 
areas on the eastern side of the Israel's wall in East Jerusalem have 
been excluded from the boundaries of the city. This has left the 
residents of Beit Iksa, Kufr Aqab, and Shuafat refugee camp with no 
access to municipal services, including water and sanitation.

In the Jordan Valley <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/jordan-valley>, 
water apartheid policies have resulted in extreme differences in water 
consumption between settlers and Palestinians, ranging from 700 liters 
per day in the settlements of Mitzpe Shalem 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/mitzpe-shalem> and Qalya to a meager 
22 liters for Palestinians in the village of al-Hadidiya.

The 1.6 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip depend for their natural 
water supply solely on the Coastal Aquifer next to the Strip. But as a 
transboundary water resource, Gaza has to share it with Israel, which 
has access to other water resources. However, the Gaza Strip can use 
only one quarter of total extractions from the Coastal Aquifer.

A responsible use of shared transboundary water resources requires 
coordination, something which Israel refuses. As a result, the water 
quality in the Gaza Strip has progressively deteriorated due to 
over-extraction and pollution of the Coastal Aquifer. The deterioration 
is also partly due to Israel's policy of denying construction materials 
for wastewater treatment plants and other water-related infrastructure 
into the Gaza Strip. Therefore, about 90 to 95 per cent of the water it 
supplies is unfit for human consumption. It is estimated that the 
quality of water in the Coastal Aquifer will continue to deteriorate and 
may become unusable by 2016, when, in the absence of any alternatives, 
the Gaza Strip could become unfit for human habitation.


    Institutionalized oppression

The third pillar of Israel's water apartheid rests upon its "security" 
laws, policies and practices. The water policies and practices are 
integrated in an institutionalized system of Jewish-Israeli domination 
and oppression of the Palestinians as a group --- thus amounting to a 
system of "water apartheid."

For example, by occupying the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and 
the Gaza Strip in the 1967 war 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/1967-war>, Israel increased its 
direct control over water resources in the region with nearly 50 
percent. Immediately after the war, the water system for the West Bank 
and Gaza was integrated into the Israeli system through a series of 
military orders which are still in force today. Israel declared the 
banks of the lower Jordan River a closed military zone, denying access 
to Palestinians.

Furthermore, the construction of Israel's wall in the West Bank has 
given Israel control over 28 agricultural wells.


    Demolitions

Israel has caused extensive damage to Palestinian water infrastructure 
during military attacks on the Gaza strip. For example, during Operation 
Cast Lead in late 2008 and early 2009, about 919 water wells, 229 
irrigation pools and 243 water pumps were destroyed. Since 2005, more 
than 300 water wells have been destroyed in the so-called buffer zone.

In 2011, Israel demolished over 20 water wells, around 35 cisterns 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/water-cisterns>, and around 10 water 
tanks and springs in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem). At the 
same time, Israel confiscated 45 water, sanitation and hygiene 
structures in the same area. The water infrastructure was indispensable 
Palestinian rural and herder communities. In 2012, Israeli forces 
demolished at least 32 water structures took place between January and 
October.

-- 
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