World Bulletin / News Desk
Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, recently caused uproar in the Israeli Knesset (parliament) when he questioned the Israelis as to whether or not they were following agreements over water distribution with the Palestinians.
His comments enraged far-right Economy Minister Naftali Bennett's Habayit Hayehudi Party so much that they stormed out of the meeting. The Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni also told Schulz that he was being 'intentionally misled' and that Israel 'gives' more water to Palestinians than agreed to.
However, while Livni's choice of words in saying that Israel 'gives' waters to the Palestinians may indicate an underlying sense of ownership over all the water in the region, what Livni was probably supposed to say instead of 'gives' is perhaps the word 'sells' i.e. Israel is selling Palestinians water that rightfully belongs to Palestinians in the first place.
In reality, Palestinians would have no need to buy water from Israel if it wasn't for the fact that Israel is occupying the West Bank and thus controlling the Palestinian water reserves. Also, the Oslo II accords which was signed by the 1995 interim government was supposed to limit Palestinian water production only temporarily until the Palestinians gained full sovereignty over their own water, yet these restrictions are still in place today.
While Israelis allotted themselves 483 million cubic meters of annual water production, Palestinians were only given 118 million cubic meters - four times less than Israelis. However, Israel is known to be producing a lot more water than was allocated to them and Palestinians are producing much less, even though they are actually in need of at least 80 million cubic meters of water more than that which was allocated to them. Meanwhile, Israel is selling 60 million cubic meters of water to the Palestinians annually, which is way over the 27.9 million cubic meters of water that they were allowed to sell according to the agreements.
The reason why Palestinians are falling short of their allocated amount is because they are forbidden from drilling water from the western mountain aquifer, which is a vital water source. Also a lot of the water the Palestinians in the West Bank are allowed to pump goes to waste because of Israelis only permitting them to use pipes that are too narrow to cope with the pumping process. To add, tarries required to approve drilling and repairs are delayed, leading to water loss of up to 30%.
As for the 113,000 Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank, they are completely cut-off from the water network and cannot even collect rain water in cisterns, leaving them with no choice but to buy water from Israel.
Furthermore, Palestinians in Gaza are forced to rely on an aquifer within their borders, which struggles to cope with the demand in the heavily over-populated strip. However, Israel insists that the Gaza Strip is self-sufficient and does not allow it to join its water infrastructure. Therefore, overpumping in Gaza causes potable water to become mixed with sea and sewage water, making 90% of the water undrinkable.Last Mod: 17 Şubat 2014, 14:27