As Palestinian Muslims make the most of observing Ramadan under occupation, continued water restrictions imposed by Israeli authorities has worsened the already challenging situation. While Palestinians have reported large scale siphoning and control of the water supplies in the West Bank, Israel’s national water company, Mekorot, denied restricting water supplies, saying that there is only broad reduction in the water supply to Palestinians.
Mekorot, is accused of manipulating water supplies to the municipality of Jenin, several Nablus villages and the city of Salfit and its surrounding villages.
Since the occupation, the awarding of water agreements, which are in favour of Israeli usage, has left Palestinians reliant on Israel for access to their water supplies.
While the Palestinian population of the West Bank since occupation has doubled, water allocation for Palestinians remains at 1997 levels.
Palestinian student and tour-guide in Bethlehem in the Occupied West Bank, Salahuddin Abulabam, explained that the water shortage problems continue throughout each year and asserts that water cuts is not restricted to particular months within the year, as believed by many.
He said that Israeli control of the Palestinian water supply and usage extends to the beginning of the occupation with the demarcation of the Green Line, which is the official mapping of Israel Proper.
Abulabam said that the map was drawn to include within Israeli lands the main water sources; the Sea of Galilee, the north, and the beginning of the Jordan River.
“Since that time, the League of Nations approved the plans to have Israel control the water source,” he added.
According to a report by Al-Jazeera, the Israeli restrictions on drilling, deepening and rehabilitation have made the wells un-usable, which have resulted in a decline in Palestinian water abstraction levels.
Abulabam explained that while Area A, which is Palestinian controlled, constitutes 22 per cent of the land, the remaining 64 per cent, in which most of the water reserves is located, is controlled by Israel.
“In the area that was called Palestine before the occupation, the yearly consumption until the year 2000 used to be 1300 million cubic metres of water, 10 million is being used by Israeli citizens, while the remaining 3 million is allocated to Palestinians,” he continued.
Abulabam said that Israeli authorities confer water to Palestinians as a business deal as opposed to acknowledging the basic right of water.
He further noted that the construction of the illegal settlements have been designed in a way that blocks the flow of water to Palestinian shepherds and Bedouins, who are also denied access to the area where the water is located. VOC