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Palestinians denied the right to water

As noted on their website, “Amnesty International accused Israel (on October 28) of denying Palestinians the right to access adequate water by maintaining total control over the shared water resources and pursuing discriminatory policies.”

Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s researcher on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) says, “Israel allows the Palestinians access to only a fraction of the shared water resources, which lie mostly in the occupied West Bank, while the unlawful Israeli settlements there receive virtually unlimited supplies.”

Amnesty International reports on how Israel’s water policies deny Palestinians their right to access to water, including:

1- “Israel uses more than 80 per cent of the water from the Mountain Aquifer, the main source of underground water in Israel and the OPT, while restricting Palestinian access to a mere 20 per cent. The Mountain Aquifer is the only source for water for Palestinians in the West Bank, but only one of several for Israel, which also takes for itself all the water available from the Jordan River.”

2- “While Palestinian daily water consumption barely reaches 70 litres a day per person, Israeli daily consumption is more than 300 litres per day, four times as much. In some rural communities Palestinians survive on barely 20 litres per day, the minimum amount recommended for domestic use in emergency situations.”

3- “Some 180,000-200,000 Palestinians living in rural communities have no access to running water and the Israeli army often prevents them from even collecting rainwater. In contrast, Israeli settlers, who live in the West Bank in violation of international law, have intensive-irrigation farms, lush gardens and swimming pools.”

4- “In the Gaza Strip, 90 to 95 per cent of the water from its only water resource, the Coastal Aquifer, is contaminated and unfit for human consumption. Yet, Israel does not allow the transfer of water from the Mountain Aquifer in the West Bank to Gaza.”

5- “Stringent restrictions imposed in recent years by Israel on the entry into Gaza of material and equipment necessary for the development and repair of infrastructure have caused further deterioration of the water and sanitation situation in Gaza, which has reached crisis point. To cope with water shortages and lack of network supplies many Palestinians have to purchase water, of often dubious quality, from mobile water tankers at a much higher price.”

More on this and the report “Troubled Waters – Palestinians Denied Fair Access to Water” can be found at http://www.amnesty.ca/resource_centre/news/view.php?load=arcview&article=4950&c=Resource+Centre+News.

To read more about our international and national right to water campaigns, please go to http://www.blueplanetproject.net/RightToWater/index.html and http://canadians.org/water/issues/right/index.html.