October 27, 2009
Israel denying Palestinians access to clean water
As a result of Israel’s ‘discriminatory’ policies, Palestinians’ access to water supply is far below the minimum recommended by the World Health Organization.
Amnesty International on Tuesday accused Israel of preventing Palestinians from receiving adequate clean and safe water while allowing the “unlawful Jewish settlers” of the occupied West Bank almost unlimited supplies.
According to the report, Israelis consume four times as much water as West Bank Palestinians whose water consumption at best reaches 70 liters per capita a day. The report also says that in some areas of the West Bank, Palestinians are surviving on as little as 20 liters of water per capita a day, which is below humanitarian disaster response levels recommended to avoid epidemics.
In contrast, water consumption by Israeli settlers in the West Bank is 300 liters per capita a day.
“Water is a basic need and a right, but for many Palestinians obtaining even poor-quality, subsistence-level quantities of water has become a luxury that they can barely afford”, said Amnesty’s Donatella Rovera.
The 112-page report says while West Bank Palestinians are not allowed to dig wells to fulfill their need, Israeli settlers of the region are enjoying swimming pools and green gardens. There are also reports suggesting that Israeli authorities destroy Palestinian’s cisterns and impound their water tankers.
“Swimming pools, well-watered lawns and large irrigated farms in Israeli settlements in the OPT (occupied Palestinian territory) stand in stark contrast next to Palestinian villages whose inhabitants struggle even to meet their domestic water needs”, the report added.
The human rights group has also accused Israel of causing a “water crisis” in the Gaza Strip by continuing its crippling blockade on the territory, adding that 90-95 per cent of the region’s water supply is now unfit for human consumption because of Israel’s three-week offensive against the coastal territory, which damaged water reservoirs, wells, sewage networks and pumping stations.