PalestinianÂ Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah issued a statement decrying Israeli national water company Mekorotâs decision to cut off water supplies to several Palestinian cities and villages.
âIsrael 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,â Hamdallah said.
According to the PNN, Israelâs 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 Ministerâs Office, called Mekorotâs practice âinhumane and outrageous.â
âIsrael is waging a water war against Palestinians,â Dajani said. âIt is not enough for Israel to systematically appropriate Palestinian land and usurp Palestineâs natural resources; they also refuse the Palestinians the right to water.â
Israelâs exclusive control over the Mountain Aquifer â a trans-boundary resource that must be shared between both sides â facilitates its illegal exercise of exploiting Palestinian water resources. According to a 2013 Report by the Human Rights NGO Al Haq, Israelâs national water company Mekorot routinely reduces Palestinian water supply during the summer months â 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:Â 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 Â the Joint Water Committee (JWC), there are problems in the water supply.”
Mekorot could not be reached for comment.
Archive IMEMC: 09/10/15Â RT Report: Nearly all of Gazaâs water âundrinkableâ
Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.