Amnesty International issued a new report today accusing Israel of unjust division of water resources. Or, as they put it, “denying Palestinians the right to access adequate water by maintaining total control over the shared water resources and pursuing discriminatory policies.” They state that Israel uses more than 80% of the Mountain Aquifer, one of many water sources for Israel and the only one for the West Bank.
The report goes on to say that:
In the Gaza Strip, 90 to 95 per cent of the water from its only water resource, the Coastal Aquifer, is contaminated and unfit for human consumption. Yet, Israel does not allow the transfer of water from the Mountain Aquifer in the West Bank to Gaza…Stringent restrictions imposed in recent years by Israel on the entry into Gaza of material and equipment necessary for the development and repair of infrastructure have caused further deterioration of the water and sanitation situation in Gaza, which has reached crisis point…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 thousand of Palestinians the right to live a normal life, to have adequate food, housing, or health, and to economic development…
This is ugly stuff, and it doesn’t exactly bode well for peace efforts.
Israel does deny the charges. Reuters reports that “Israel’s water authority called the report ‘biased and incorrect, at the very least’ and said that while there was a water gap, it was not nearly as big as presented in Amnesty’s findings.”