6 June, 2014 PIC
The water resources in the West Bank are fully controlled by the Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) through Mekorot company (Israel’s national water company), which allocates 7 times more water to each settler than to the Palestinian citizen.
Due to Israel’s water apartheid policies, the West Bank has been facing grave water shortages, forcing many of its residents to purchase water from the nearby villages or from vendors of private water trucks at a high cost.
The Israeli occupation authorities have continued to steal Palestinian groundwater and surface water, and then re-sell part of it to the Palestinian citizens at exorbitant prices, in violation of their rights that are internationally guaranteed.
In statements to PIC, Mayor of al-Khalil Daoud Zaatari said that the occupation authorities have demolished all the wells in the city that were built to collect rainwater.
The Israeli occupation forces demolished at least 55 water wells in 2012 and 65 others in 2013, he added, stressing that this policy of demolition has aggravated the water crisis especially in summer.
Due to unreliable water delivery, 700 thousand Palestinians have to buy water cisterns at high prices in order to collect rainwater and use it for all purposes. They do so despite the storage conditions that lead to poor quality water.
Although most Palestinian communities are now connected to a central water network, there is simply not enough water to supply running water. Accordingly, Palestinian authorities provide water by rotation. Palestinian residents must deal with water shutoffs for days and sometimes even weeks at a time.
Israelis, by contrast, have the benefit of unlimited running water year round and at any time of day.
Moreover, approximately 113,000 West Bank Palestinians live in about 70 villages that are not even hooked up to the central water grid.
This is the case because the Oslo Accords gave Israel control over the Palestinian water resources and even control the policies of the Palestinian Water Authority and Water Resources, the Mayor of al-Khalil said.
For his part, the Palestinian MP for al-Khalil city Khalil Rab’i held the IOA fully responsible for water scarcity in the occupied West Bank.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Water Authority has confirmed that al-Khalil governorate will witness an acute water crisis this summer, without providing a solution to the problem.