Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah issued a statement decrying Israeli national water company Mekorot’s decision to cut off water supplies to several Palestinian cities and villages.
“Israel wants to prevent Palestinians from leading a dignified life and uses its control over our water resources to this end; while illegal Israeli settlements enjoy uninterrupted water service, Palestinians are forced to spend great sums of money to buy water that is theirs in the first place,” Hamdallah said.
According to the PNN, Israel’s national water company has cut off water supplies to the municipality of Jenin, several Nablus villages, as well as the city of Salfit and its surrounding villages. As a result, tens of thousands of Palestinians have been left without access to safe drinking water during the month of Ramadan, and are forced to buy water from water trucks. Almost 200,000 Palestinians in the West Bank do not have access to running water, and require permission from Israeli authorities before collecting it themselves, according to a report by Amnesty International.
Jamal Dajani, Director of Strategic Media and Communications at the Prime Minister’s Office, called Mekorot’s practice “inhumane and outrageous.”
“Israel is waging a water war against Palestinians,” Dajani said. “It is not enough for Israel to systematically appropriate Palestinian land and usurp Palestine’s natural resources; they also refuse the Palestinians the right to water.”
Israel’s exclusive control over the Mountain Aquifer – a trans-boundary resource that must be shared between both sides – facilitates its illegal exercise of exploiting Palestinian water resources. According to a 2013 Report by the Human Rights NGO Al Haq, Israel’s national water company Mekorot routinely reduces Palestinian water supply during the summer months – sometimes by as much as 50 percent.
Since 1967, Israel has limited the water available to Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since its forces occupied the territories.
A spokesperson for the Israeli government told The Indepedent: there is “no truth” in the claims, and said the shortages were down to faulty water lines.
They said: “Several hours ago, COGAT’s Civil Administration team have repaired a burst pipe line, which disrupted the water supply to the villages of Marda, Biddya, Jamma’in, Salfit and Tapuach. The water flow has been regulated and is currently up and running.
“Any effort to connect the disruptions with terror is mistaken and misleading.
“Given the failure to develop infrastructures as a result of the unwillingness on behalf of the Palestinians to convene the Joint Water Committee (JWC), there are problems in the water supply.”
Mekorot could not be reached for comment.
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