Israel’s exploitation of Palestinian water resources condemned

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ON UN World Water Day last Saturday the Palestinian Mission UK recirculated a previously published brief by the PLO-Negotations Affairs Department entitled ‘Israel’s Exploitation of Palestinian Water Resources’.

‘The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum domestic waterconsumption of 100 litres percapita per day.

‘The average individual Palestinian domestic consumption, at 70 litres per day, falls 30 litres below this minimum, while the average Israeli consumes three times the recommended minimum (280 litres).’

Announcing World Water Day 2014: Water and Energy, the UN said: ‘Water and energy are closely interlinked and interdependent.

‘Energy generation and transmission requires utilization of water resources, particularly for hydroelectric, nuclear, and thermal energy sources.

‘Conversely, about 8% of the global energy generation is used for pumping, treating and transporting water to various consumers.

‘In 2014, the UN System – working closely with its Member States and other relevant stakeholders – is collectively bringing its attention to the water-energy nexus, particularly addressing inequities, especially for the “bottom billion” who live in slums and impoverished rural areas and survive without access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, sufficient food and energy services.

‘It also aims to facilitate the development of policies and crosscutting frameworks that bridge ministries and sectors, leading the way to energy security and sustainable water use in a green economy.

‘Particular attention will be paid to identifying best practices that can make a water- and energy-efficient “Green Industry” a reality.

‘Objectives of World Water Day in 2014

• Raise awareness of the inter-linkages between water and energy

• Contribute to a policy dialogue that focuses on the broad range of issues related to the nexus of water and energy

• Demonstrate, through case studies, to decision makers in the energy sector and the water domain that integrated approaches and solutions to water-energy issues can achieve greater economic and social impacts

• Identify policy formulation and capacity development issues in which the UN system, in particular UN-Water and UN-Energy, can offer significant contributions

• Identify key stakeholders in the water-energy nexus and actively engaging them in further developing the water-energy linkages

• Contribute as relevant to the post-2015 discussions in relation to the water-energy nexus.

‘Israel’s Exploitation of Palestinian Water Resources’ by the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department, stated:

Resources

‘Calls upon Israel, the occupying power, not to exploit, damage, cause loss or depletion of or endanger the natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including EastJerusalem . . .

‘Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources.

‘Israeli exploitation of Palestinian natural resources, including water, is one of Israel’s most severe violations of international law.

‘The Israeli occupation aims specifically at annexing Palestinian land, including our natural resources. The World Health Organization recommends a minimum domestic water consumption of 100 litres per capita per day. The average individual Palestinian domestic consumption, at 70 litres per day, falls 30 litres below this minimum, while the average Israeli consumes three times the recommended minimum (280 litres).

In the southern West Bank, there are communities that use less than 15 to 20 litres per capita per day.

‘Mr. Netanyahu (Israeli prime minister) and Mr. Bennett (Israeli economy minister) are well aware of this. Part of the political campaign made by extremist elements of the ruling coalition, who prefer to “manage the occupation” rather than achieve a solution, is the argument that Israel obtains 50% of its drinking water from the occupied West Bank in order to justify its ongoing occupation.

‘In fact, Israel exploits 90% of the water resources underlying the occupied West Bank for its own use.

Key Facts

• From all water resources located in the occupied West Bank, Israel currently exploits 90 per cent for their exclusive use. Only 10 per cent is allocated for Palestinian use.

• The result of Israeli theft of Palestinian natural resources is that in the occupied West Bank the average consumption of water is just 70 litres per capita per day, 30 litres below ‘absolute minimum’ of 100 litres per capita per day recommended by the World Health Organisation.

• In Israel, per capita water consumption per day is 280 litres per capita per day, or three times the minimum established by the World Health Organisation.

This figure goes over countries such as France, Austria, Denmark, Brazil or the United Kingdom.

• On top of the inequality in water distribution between Israel and Palestine, the prices imposed by the Israeli occupation on Palestinian water are also higher than those in Israel. A Palestinian family spends on average 8 per cent of its monthly expenditure on purchasing water while the worldwide average is only of 3.5 per cent.

• In some cases, particularly in areas that Israel does not allow for Palestinian development, some Palestinian families must spend as much as 50 per cent of their monthly expenditure on water alone.

• Israeli settlers in the Jordan Valley, subsidised by the State of Israel, pay an average of 0.9 per cent of their monthly expenditure on water.

These same settlers are allocated 18 more water than the per capita amount allocated to Palestinians.

• In the Gaza Strip, 90-95 per cent of groundwater is not suitable for drinking purposes according to WHO standards.

Palestinian Position for a Final Status Agreement:

‘International law guides, informs, governs, and controls Palestinian water rights and issues. All transboundary fresh water resources in the State of Palestine and Israel will be equitably shared between the two in line with international law.

‘Therefore, the stability, prosperity and security of both Palestine and Israel will depend in large part on the quality of the structure and procedures that define Palestinian-Israeli relations on water issues.

‘Most importantly, there can be no viable State of Palestine without access to its equitable share of fresh water and its exercise of full control over that supply in the interests of its residents.’