Thursday, May 28, 2009

Israelis get four-fifths of scarce West Bank water, says World Bank.

As Obama faces up to Netanyahu's intransigence regarding a possible peace deal in the Middle East which will finally see the Palestinians achieve their own state, the World Bank have highlighted the unfair distribution of resources which underpins much of the Palestinian anger at the Israeli occupation.

A deepening drought in the Middle East is aggravating a dispute over water resources after the World Bank found that Israel is taking four times as much water as the Palestinians from a vital shared aquifer.

The region faces a fifth consecutive year of drought this summer, but the World Bank report found huge disparities in water use between Israelis and Palestinians, although both share the mountain aquifer that runs the length of the occupied West Bank.

Palestinians have access to only a fifth of the water supply, while Israel, which controls the area, takes the rest, the bank said.
Israelis use 240 cubic metres of water a person each year, against 75 cubic metres for West Bank Palestinians and 125 for Gazans, the bank said.

Increasingly, West Bank Palestinians must rely on water bought from the Israeli national water company, Mekorot.
In some areas of the West Bank, Palestinians are surviving on as little as 10 to 15 litres a person each day, which is at or below humanitarian disaster response levels recommended to avoid epidemics. In Gaza, where Palestinians rely on an aquifer that has become increasingly saline and polluted, the situation is worse. Only 5%-10% of the available water is clean enough to drink.
One can highlight a thousand different ways in which the Israelis bully and humiliate the Palestinians on a daily basis, always justified by the need for Israeli security. But, the unfair distribution of water speaks of a sense of entitlement which the Israelis feel, and the way in which the Palestinians and their needs are disregarded.

And again, one is struck by the fact that the Israelis appear to hold no sway with the notion that the occupiers have any sense of responsibility towards the people that they are occupying.

The Israelis continue to argue that the Palestinians are not doing enough to develop their own water resources, whilst ignoring the fact that the Palestinians have not been allowed to develop any new production wells in the West Bank since the 1967 war.

But facts are inarguable things. And the fact is that the Israelis, the people who occupy and control the area, allow themselves four times more water than they allow their Palestinian counterparts. International law states that most of the water sources in the area are international resources, and as such must be shared by Israelis and Palestinians according to the principle of equitable and reasonable use.

But that's not how the Israelis see it.
"There is no reason for Palestinians to claim that just because they sit on lands, they have the rights to that water," Mr. Katz-Oz [Israel's negotiator on water] said. "The mountains do not own the water that fall on them. It's the same with Canada and the United States. It's the same all over the world." -- NYT 10/93
It's just another of the myriad of ways in which the Palestinians are disenfranchised.

Related articles:

Israel's discriminatory water policies leave West Bank dry

Click title for full article.


Anonymous said...

A Parody of Herzl’s Vision
The modern state of Israel is a parody of Theodor Herzl’s magnificent vision of a Jewish homeland, an agro-economy built upon communal endeavor and in co-operation with its neighbors. Instead we have an occupying force under the command of corrupt politicians that slaughters its neighbours like chickens in a coop. Diverting essential water supplies and restricting a population of 1.5 million in a grotesque ghetto closed off from contact with the outside world - God alone knows what atrocities have been and are falsely committed in the name of Judaism. Zionism is a failed political movement that, like the KKK, will run its anachronistic course and then be gone. But not before hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent lives have been thrown away on the bogus premise that political Zionism has something to do with Judaism.

Kel said...

Herzl believed that years of living in the Diaspora had encouraged the Jewish people to be too insular and that this contributed to anti-Semitism. He believed that the forming of a Jewish state would end all this by allowing the Jews a place of safety where they could openly deal with the rest of the world.

He certainly never envisioned his dream state as an occupying power.