Amnesty International published a report accusing Israel of denying the Palestinians the right to access water resources, and is carrying discriminatory policies against the Palestinians by denying them access to shared water resources.

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Amnesty International published a report accusing Israel of denying the Palestinians the right to access water resources, and is carrying discriminatory policies against the Palestinians by denying them access to shared water resources.

Amnesty said that discrimination in water distribution is very apparent when someone compares the water provided to settlers, their lands and swimming pools while the Palestinians have no adequate access to water as Israel controls all water resources.

It said that the Palestinians are only given a fraction of the resources, which is mainly in the occupied West Bank, while the settlers, even in illegal settlements, receive virtually unlimited supplies.

“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. In Gaza the Israeli blockade has made an already dire situation worse,” said Donatella Rovera,
Amnesty International’s researcher on Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. (AMNESTY)

Amnesty said that Israel has access to more than 80% of the water from the Mountain Aquifer, while the Palestinians are restricted to 20%. The Aquifer is the only source of underground water for West Bank Palestinians, while Israel is using many aquifers and uses the water of the Jordan River.

It also said that the average personal daily consumption of water by a Palestinian is 70 liters; every Israeli consumes more than 300 liters.

There are some 18.0000 -200.000 Palestinians who live in rural areas, but they have no access to running water due to Israeli restrictions, while the Israeli army also bars them from collecting rain water.

Amnesty further stated that Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, living in violation of the International Law, enjoy constant running water, swimming pools, irrigation farms and gardens.

It said that the 450.000 settlers who illegally live in the occupied West Bank “use as much or more than the 2.3 million Palestinians living there.

As for the Gaza Strip, the residents get 90-95% of the water from the Coastal Aquifer which is their only water source. This happens while Israel refuses to allow any transfer of water from the Mountain Aquifer to the Gaza Strip, Amnesty added.

The Israeli siege on Gaza and the restrictions on the transfer of materials and equipment needed to reconstruct and develop the coastal region are causing further deterioration to the water situation.

Gazans are forced to buy some of their water from water tankers for a much higher price, although there are doubts regarding the quality of the water they are purchasing.

Amnesty added that many residents in Gaza had to resort to water saving measures, and that this issue is affecting their health.

“Over more than 40 years of occupation, restrictions imposed by Israel on the Palestinians’ access to water have prevented the development of water infrastructure and facilities in the OPT, consequently denying hundreds of thousands of Palestinians the right to live a normal life, to have adequate food, housing, or health, and to economic development,” said Rovera.

Amnesty called on Israel to end its discriminatory policies against the Palestinians, and to grant them their right to water resources.

Israel annexed large areas of Palestinian lands that are rich with water, and prevented the Palestinians access to them.

“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,” Rovera Stated, “Israel must end its discriminatory policies, immediately lift all the restrictions it imposes on Palestinians’ access to water, and take responsibility for addressing the problems it created by allowing Palestinians a fair share of the shared water resources.”

The Palestinians who try to implement water-related projects have to ask Israel for a permit, but such permits are often rejected or Israel just delays them for extended periods of time.

“Water tankers are forced to take long detours to avoid Israeli military checkpoints and roads which are out of bounds to Palestinians, resulting in steep increases in the price of water”, Amnesty reported.

Furthermore, Amnesty added that the Israeli army often destroys Palestinian rainwater harvesting cisterns and confiscates water tankers.

But the nearby Israeli settlements have green fields, sprinklers, “even in midday when the water just evaporates before it reaches the ground”.

The restrictions are also affecting the Palestinian villagers who cannot cultivate their lands or even plant them with small amounts barely enough for personal use or for animal fodder.