Sewage and wastewater from the Israeli settlement of Ariel, the largest settlement in the West Bank, has polluted the Palestinian village of Bruqin, which sits adjacent to the settlement.Ariel is constructed on hilltops and its wastewater is frequently directed away from the settlement onto the land of nearby Palestinian villages. This is a common occurrence in a number of Israeli settlements, which are constructed on illegally-seized Palestinian land in the West Bank.

Currently, Israeli settlements and military encampments control 70% of the West Bank’s water, leaving the Palestinian population with little water to drink, and downstream of Israeli settlers’ wastewater runoffs.

Palestinians have also accused a number of Israeli settlements of purposely directing wastewater and raw sewage onto their farmland and homes, in an attempt to contaminate the property and render it uninhabitable, thus forcing the Palestinian residents to leave.

In the current incident, the sewage was directed from Ariel settlement directly toward the land of Bruqin village, and has contaminated farmland and groundwater in an area of several kilometers around the village.

All Israeli settlements are considered illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory, which prohibits the transfer of civilian populations onto land seized by military force. Currently around 500,000 Israeli civilians and military personnel live on Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem that was seized by Israeli military force during the 1967 war.