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Israel Denies 45,000 Palestinians Water

Written by Subject: Israel - Palestine
Israel Denies 45,000 Palestinians Water

by Stephen Lendman

The Middle East Monitor (MEM) reported it. More on what it said below.

Fascists run Israel. Democracy is verboten. Peace is a convenient illusion. Ongoing talks are a sham. Chance for peaceful conflict resolution is ZERO.

Militarism defines Israeli policy. Belligerence enforces it. So does state-sponsored terrorism.

Human and civil rights abuses are extreme. Arabs are a target of convenience. They're considered subhuman.

They're ruthlessly persecuted. Institutionalized racism shows it. Occupied Palestinians bear the greatest cross.

They're terrorized. They're marginalized, denied, persecuted and brutalized. Multiple daily neighborhood incursions target them.

Illegal arrests follow. World leaders able to make a difference turn a blind eye. Israeli lawlessness is ignored. Media scoundrels are longstanding apologists.

They're mindless of Israel's worst crimes. An entire population is held hostage. Every day is Kristallnacht in Palestine.

Israeli forces terrorize Palestinians daily. They do with impunity. Anything goes is policy. Gross hypocrisy whitewashes truth.

Collective punishment is institutionalized. Peaceful demonstrations are assaulted. Free expression and movement are prohibited. Population centers are isolated. Borders are closed.

Normal daily life is denied. Economic strangulation and state-sponsored racism are imposed. So are curfews, roadblocks, checkpoints, separation walls, electric fences, and other barriers.

Neighborhood incursions, land, sea and air attacks, bulldozed homes, land theft, ethnic cleansing, slow-motion genocide, targeted killings, mass arrests, torture, and gulag imprisonment reflect daily life.

Fundamental civil and human rights are denied. Crimes of war and against humanity repeat without redress. Wanting to live free in sovereign Palestine is called terrorism.

Punitive taxes are imposed. Few services are provided. Vital ones are lacking or inadequate. Palestinian lawmakers are imprisoned for belonging to the wrong party.

Fishermen are attacked at sea. So are farmers working their land. Trying at the wrong time risks arrest, injury or death.

Children are used for target practice. They're murdered in cold blood. Some are shot in the back. Most are killed or injured at close range.

Crops and orchards are destroyed. Settlers commit regular attacks. Courts provide no help.

Gaza's seven year siege is suffocating. It's slow-motion genocide. Coverup suppresses what's ongoing. Reality is polar opposite vicious lies.

Netanyahu heads Israel's most extremist government in history. He's a world class thug. He's an unindicted war criminal. His coalition partners are militantly hardline.

They're racists. They're ideologically over-the-top. They abhor peace, stability, equity and justice.

They prioritize occupation harshness. They ruthlessly enforce it. Washington provides full support.

On March 3, John Kerry addressed AIPAC's annual conference. He ludicrously called America and Israel "examples" of "democratic values…to the world."

Both countries partner in each others crimes. Their agenda is imperial lawlessness. Their contempt for human and civil rights is unmatched. They threaten world peace.

"Israel's security is our first priority," Kerry stressed. Washington will counter all boycott attempts, he added.

His so-called peace plan mocks responsible conflict resolution equity. It's entirely one-sided. He lied claiming otherwise.

He's a longstanding Israeli apologist. His Senate pro-Israeli voting record was second to none.

He supports unwavering commitment to a special relationship. He turns a blind eye to Israel's worst crimes.

He once called Jerusalem "Israel's indisputable capital." In 1999, he signed a letter criticizing Clinton for not moving America's embassy there.

He's vying to become Washington's worst ever Secretary of State. His agenda matches the worst of his predecessors.

He's mindless of human suffering. He represents imperial arrogance writ large. He supports war. He deplores peace.

He flaunts rule of law principles. He's an embarrassment to the position he holds. Netanyahu's agenda is openly fascist.

Kerry calls him his good friend. He praised his "courage" and "commitment" for peace he deplores.

Both men represent two sides of the same coin. Rogue leader viciousness describes them.

On March 6, the Middle East Monitor (MEM) headlined "Israel cuts off water to 45,000 Palestinians."

For nearly three days, Shuafat refugee camp residents had no water. Nor did suburban Jerusalem's Ras Shehadeh, Ras Khamis, As-Salam and Anata.

Two weeks ago, Israeli water company Gihon began reducing supplies. Stopping them entirely followed.

On March 5, Shuafat's popular committee member Khaled Al-Khalidi said 23,000 camp refugees had no water for three days.

The above suburban Jerusalem Palestinian areas had none for 20 days.

Al-Khalidi demanded "UNRWA, the camp's service provider, fulfill its obligations towards the refugees and prosecute the Jerusalem municipality and Gihon to oblige them to return the water supply."

"UNRWA and Jordan signed an agreement in 1956 to provide water service to the Palestinian refugees without charge, and in 1967 the Israeli Civil administration joined the Convention," he explained.

"However in 1988, when Israel tried to cut off the water supply to the camp residents, the refugees prosecuted the company and forced it to return the water supply."

Jameel Sandouqa heads the Ras Al-Khamis development committee. He denounced Gihon's action. Educational and health institutions are paralyzed, he said.

"We addressed the Association for Civil Rights and filed a complaint against Gihon. We also contacted Gihon's Deputy Director General Eli Cohen, but he denied any cut off in the water supply," he added.

He contacted Knesset minister Effie Cole. He asked her to hold an urgent meeting.

He wants Knesset members to demand Gihon restore water to deprived areas immediately.

It "cut off water to the region to force us to receive services from the Jerusalem municipality and impose a new (unacceptable) reality in the region," he said.

One more thing, he added. The IDF closed Shuafat military crossing. It's been this way for three days.

Residents are greatly inconvenienced. They're endangered. They have to circumvent the area to get around.

On February 17, 972 Magazine headlined "Jerusalem's refugee camp: Abandoned by the state," saying:

"Although the Shuafat refugee camp is under the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem Municipality, one look at the lack of basic infrastructure, the sewage running in the streets, and the unsafe conditions reveal that it is part of a different world."

It's one of countless examples of Israeli disdain for fundamental Palestinian rights.

Shuafat refugee camp is "hundreds of light years away from" Israeli Jerusalem areas.

Its landscape is polar opposite. It was established in the mid-1960s. Originally it had 1,500 refugees.

It currently has tens of thousands. Reports differ on how many. They're crammed into far too little space. Living conditions are deplorable.

Access roads are closed. Residents are practically imprisoned. Piles of waste and garbage are everywhere.

Foul sewage smell is horrific. Basic services are lacking. Residents live under conditions free people wouldn't tolerate.

They're deplorable. Imagine forced to live this way. Imagine no other choice. Israel's contempt for Palestinians is palpable. Cutting off camp water reflects its viciousness.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

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2 Comments in Response to

Comment by J E Andreasen
Entered on:
Gaza to run out of free fuel again, expect Israel to be blamed Ma'an reported yesterday:
The last shipment of Qatar-donated diesel -- used to fuel the Gaza Strip's sole power plant -- is expected to run out within four or five days, a Palestinian official said Sunday.

The announcement comes after only around two months of steady electricity in the besieged coastal enclave, which suffers from a severe lack of fuel due to a seven-year-long economic blockade enforced jointly by Israel and Egypt.

Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil, deputy chairperson of the Gaza power authority, told Ma'an Sunday that the Qatari donation had helped operate two generators and made electricity available on the basis of eight hours on, eight hours off.

As the last of the fuel runs out, power availability will be reduced to six hours on, twelve hours off, as before the fuel was donated, Khalil said.
Yet only two paragraphs after blaming Israel (and Egypt) for Gaza's lack of fuel, the Gaza official freely admits why there really is a shortage:
"We asked the Ramallah government to provide Gaza's power plant with tax-free fuel because the money we collect in electricity bills isn't enough to buy fuel to run two generators," he said.
Nothing to do with Israel at all - it is the Hamas government being unable to pay the agreed-upon prices! If they pay, Israel can sell them all they need.

There is no blockade of fuel to Gaza from Israel. Media and NGOs that make this claim are lying.

I've documented this in detail since last November 1, when Gaza officials first announced that they don't want to pay regular prices for fuel.

(I commented on the Ma'an article but it was not published. What a surprise.)

Somehow Hamas finds the money to pay for monuments to terror, for weapons smuggling, and for other "essential" functions - but they can't find a way to pay for fuel. Because they have historically used the artificial fuel crises that they engineer to create heartbreaking photos of Gaza children in candlelight to pressure Israel and the PA. They couldn't care less about the welfare of their people.

And Hamas is secure in its knowledge that NGOs and the media will more often blame Israel (and, lately, Egypt) for its own cynical manipulation of their people. 

Comment by J E Andreasen
Entered on:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Water shortages in the Palestinian Authority are the result of Palestinian policies that deliberately waste water and destroy the regional water ecology. The Palestinians refuse to develop their own significant underground water resources, build a seawater desalination plant, fix massive leakage from their municipal water pipes, build sewage treatment plants, irrigate land with treated sewage effluents or modern water-saving devices, or bill their own citizens for consumer water usage, leading to enormous waste. At the same time, they drill illegally into Israel’s water resources, and send their sewage flowing into the valleys and streams of central Israel. In short, the Palestinian Authority is using water as a weapon against the State of Israel. It is not interested in practical solutions to solve the Palestinian people’s water shortages, but rather perpetuation of the shortages and the besmirching of Israel.

A significant public debate has been sparked by the assertion of European Parliament President Martin Schulz that the amount of water available to the average Israeli unfairly overwhelms the amount of water available to the average Palestinian. The main issue that should be discussed – and has not been sufficiently analyzed – is: What are the causes of Palestinian water supply problems?

The discussion must be informed by the following basic facts:

1. The Oslo agreements grant the Palestinians the right to draw 70 million cubic meters from the Eastern Mountain Aquifer (ground water reservoir). Yet this water resource is not currently being capitalized on by the Palestinians; the waters spill untapped underground into the Dead Sea. As per the Israeli-Palestinian agreement, some 40 sites were identified for drilling into this aquifer in the eastern Hebron hills region, and permits were granted to the Palestinians by the Israel-PA Joint Water Committee. Nevertheless, over the past 20 years, the Palestinians have drilled at just one-third of these sites, despite the fact that the international community has offered to finance the drilling of all sites. If the Palestinians were to drill and develop all these wells, they could have completely solved the existing water shortage in the Hebron hills region. But the Palestinians have preferred to drill wells on the Western Mountain Aquifer, the basin that provides groundwater to the State of Israel. Instead of solving the problem they have chosen to squabble with Israel.

2. The Palestinians do not bother fixing water leaks in city pipes. Up to 33 percent of water in Palestinian cities is wasted through leakage. Upkeep on the Palestinians’ urban water infrastructure has been completely neglected. By comparison, leakage from Israeli municipal water pipes amount to only 10 percent of water usage.

3. The Palestinians refuse to build water treatment plants, despite their obligation to do so under the Oslo agreement. Sewage flows out of Palestinian towns and villages directly into local streams, thereby polluting the environments and the aquifer and causing the spread of disease. Despite the fact that donor countries are willing to fully fund the building of treatment plants, the Palestinians have managed to avoid their obligations to build such facilities. (Only over the past two years has Israeli pressure moved the PA forward a bit on this matter.)

4. The Palestinians absolutely refuse to irrigate their agricultural fields with treated sewage effluents. By comparison, more than half the agricultural fields in Israel are irrigated with treated waste water. Irrigating Palestinian agricultural fields with recycled water instead of fresh water would free up large amounts of water for home usage. This would greatly reduce the water shortage in many places.

5. Some Palestinian farmers irrigate their fields by flooding, rather than with drip irrigation technology. Drip irrigation, as practiced in Israel, brings water directly to the root of each plant, thereby reducing water consumption by more than 50 percent. Flooding fields causes huge water evaporation and leads to great waste.

6. The international community has offered to build a desalination plant for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians have refused this gift. A desalination plant could completely solve the Gaza Strip’s water shortages. The Palestinians refuse to build this plant because they claim they have the right to access the fresh groundwater reservoir in Judea and Samaria, and they are prepared to suffer until they realize this dream. In the meanwhile, Gaza residents suffer from severe shortages of water.

These basic, undeniable facts are extremely important because they have wide-ranging consequences.

Today, the Palestinians consume some 200 million cubic meters of water per annum in Judea and Samaria. The Palestinians could easily raise that amount by at least 50 percent, without any additional assistance or allocation from the State of Israel. This would require several simple actions:

If the Palestinians were to begin drilling the Eastern Mountain Aquifer, at the sites already approved for drilling, they very quickly would secure an additional 50 million cubic meters of water per year.

If the Palestinians were to reduce urban water waste from 33 percent to 20 percent by fixing the main leaks in their urban water pipes (something that can be done without great effort), they would immediately benefit from 10 million additional cubic meters of water per annum.

If the Palestinians were to collect and treat their urban waste water, they would gain at least 30 million cubic meters of water a year. This would free up 30 million cubic meters (per annum) of fresh water, currently used for agriculture, for home usage. This would allow them both to improve their urban water supply and to expand agricultural lands.

If the Palestinians were to adopt drip irrigation technology, they would save 10 million cubic meters a year. This would allow them to expand their irrigated lands.

In the Gaza Strip, too, the Palestinians could easily double the amount of water available, without additional assistance from the State of Israel. If the Palestinians agreed to build a desalination plant on the Gaza coast (funded entirely by the international community), they would increase the amount of water available by 60 to 100 million cubic meters a year. If they fix leakages, treat and recycle sewage, and adopt drip irrigation, they would double their water allocation, as well.

...The sum total of the situation described above is that the Palestinian Authority is using water as a weapon against the State of Israel. It is more interested in reducing the amount of water available to Israel, polluting natural reservoirs, harming Israeli farmers, and sullying Israel’s reputation around the world than truly solving water problems for the Palestinian people. The Palestinians are not interested in practical solutions to address shortages; rather, they seek to perpetuate the shortages, and to blame the State of Israel. 

Unfortunately, President Schulz’s Knesset address, with its seemingly straightforward but baseless accusations against Israel, suggests that the PA is succeeding in this effort to befuddle international observers and besmirch Israel.

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