“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 Israel’s Minister of Economy and Commerce Naftaly Bennett. The inequity of water supplied to Israelis versus Palestinians came up for discussion in Knesset last week.
Further to the Knesset session, we posted precise figures regarding water consumption in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. All West Bank residents must deal with constant water shortages due to the discriminatory allocation of water to the West Bank in comparison to Israel. Even those people in the West Bank who are hooked up to the water grid do not have the pleasure of running water year-round; most residents place large water-storage containers on their roofs. In addition, 113,000 people are not hooked up to the water grid at all, so they are forced to spend much money on the high-priced water carried by water trucks.
The situation in the Gaza Strip has more to do with quality than with quantity. Over 90% of the water in Gaza is unfit for drinking. The residents drink purified water they purchase from public or private water treatment facilities. Wafa al-Faran, 42, a married mother of eight described the situation in Gaza where she lives: “We don't drink the water that from the pipes and don't use it for making coffee or tea or for cooking. We buy fresh water from water vendors. Sometimes, I use the fresh water to wash my daughters’ hair, and in the morning we use this water to wash our faces, because the water from the taps burns our eyes.”
The following images paint a grim picture of the of water supply problems in the West Bank and Gaza: