Updates

Water crisis

“No child should have to be afraid to drink a glass of water lest there be none tomorrow. These are my difficulties. These are my children’s fears.” Thus B’Tselem field researcher Nasser Nawaj'ah concluded his open letter in Haaretz to Minister Naftaly Bennett. The inequity of water supplied to Israelis versus Palestinians came up for discussion in Knesset last week. Consequntly, we posted precise figures regarding water consumption in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. We invite you to take a look at the situation yourself.

February 19

In contrast to the claims voiced yesterday by Israeli ministers and Members of Knesset, there is undeniable discrimination in water allocation with Israelis receiving much more water than Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The government of Israel is largely responsible for this discrimination due to its water policy. Firstly, minimal amounts of water are supplied to Palestinians and water from shared resources is unequally divided. Secondly, existing infrastructure with high levels of water loss is not upgraded. No infrastructure is developed for communities that are not connected to the water grid and water infrastructure projects in areas located inside the Palestinian Authority are not approved.

February 12

Gaza has been suffering a severe water crisis for years, due to contamination of its main water source – the coastal aquifer – by over-pumping and lack of proper sewage treatment. Residents buy drinking water from wastewater treatment plants as over 90% of the aquifer's water is un-potable, a number expected to reach 100% by 2016. UNEP has called on Israel, the PA, Hamas and Egypt to take immediate action on the matter. Meanwhile, Israel must allow into Gaza materials and equipment needed to restore and develop its sewage treatment infrastructure.

February 9

60% of the West Bank is designated Area C, under exclusive Israeli control. It is home to 180,000 Palestinians and includes most West Bank land reserves. Israel, citing “state lands” or “firing zones”, largely prohibits Palestinian construction. Israel’s planning policy ignores local needs: refuses to recognize villages or draft plans; blocks development and infrastructure hook-ups; and demolishes homes. Thousands are in danger of expulsion for living in firing zones or “illegal” communities. Israel has appropriated most water sources and restricts Palestinian access to them.

June 5

In an op-ed first published in the Jerusalem Post, Eyal Hareuveni explains why the demolition orders issued by the Civil Administration in May for most of the village of Khirbet Susiya do not serve legitimate planning interests. Rather, they reflect the discriminatory planning regime that Israel imposed in Area C of the West Bank, where Israel has complete control. This regime threatens the continued existence of dozens of Area C Palestinian villages for which Israel has thwarted the preparation of master plans, while preventing the expansion and development of other Palestinian communities in this area.

August 29

Israel exploits the natural resources in the Jordan Valley more than in the rest of the West Bank and prevents Palestinians from using most of the area's land and water resources.

May 12

Almost 95% of water pumped in Gaza is unfit for drinking, according to international organizations and the Gazan water authorities. Despite years of dangerous over-pumping in Gaza, Israel prohibits entry of materials needed to repair the water and wastewater-treatment systems there.

August 23

The discriminatory division of the shared water resources infringes the Palestinians' right to water, to sanitation, and to health. Israel's policy also infringes the Palestinians' right to gain a livelihood, in that the water shortage prevents development of agriculture, one of the most important economic sectors in the West Bank.

March 24

Israel is effectively pressuring Palestinians to leave al-Hadidiyeh, a Bedouin community in the Jordan Valley, by denying building permits, repeatedly demolishing structures, and severely restricting movement. The community also reports harassment by settlers.

February 22

For years, the town of Salfit has suffered from wastewater channeled its way from Ariel. A video co-produced with "HaYarkon 70 News" portrays the problem, which exists in other places in the West Bank.

November 11

Following the harsh comments made by Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau in the Knesset in a debate regarding B'Tselem's report on wastewater from settlements, B'Tselem called on the minister to set politics aside and treat the problem at hand.

July 26

In its new report B'Tselem warns about the danger inherent in neglecting wastewater treatment in the West Bank. The report criticizes both Israel and the Palestinian Authority for their failures, which have harmed the health and future water supply of all residents of Israel and the West Bank.

June 28

The UN's World Water Day, commemorated this week, is dedicated to cross-border waters. The division of the Israeli and Palestinian shared water sources is characterized by blatant discrimination, causing a severe water shortage in the West Bank.

March 23

B'Tselem warns against a severe water shortage this summer in the West Bank and its effects on the economic conditions and health of tens of thousands of Palestinians. The chronic water shortage results in large part from Israel's discriminatory water policy.

July 1

The Palestinian Electric Company has had to shut down Gaza's power station after it ran out of industrial diesel. Last week, Israel's stopped all fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip.

January 21

Following the cutback, which began in October, the Gaza power station had to severely cut back the supply of electricity, impairing electricity supply to residents and vital facilities.

January 14

Tens of thousands of Palestinians in the Hebron District have been suffering, one of the worst shortages of water for household needs in recent years.

October 28

Residents of the West Bank suffer from a water shortage all year long. The shortage is particularly felt in the summer, and this year will likely be worse because of the economic crisis in the area.

June 21

In the town of Yatta, running water is supplied to residents for only one week during the whole summer. In the nearby villages, there is no running water available at all.

August 1