Israel 'cutting Palestinian water'

Amnesty report says Israel restricting Palestinian access to scarce water supplies.

    Amnesty said the water situation in the
    Gaza Strip has reached a "crisis point"
     

    Israel's daily water consumption per capita is four times higher than the 70 litre per person consumed in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, according to the report entitled: Troubled waters - Palestinians denied fair access to water

    Shortages

    Israel, which itself faces unprecedented water shortages, controls much of the West Bank's supplies, pumping from the so-called Mountain Aquifer that bridges Israel and the territory.

    in depth

     

    Amnesty report: Troubled Waters (PDF)

    Video: Water crisis sickens Gazans

      Focus: Limiting a Palestinian state
      Video: The settlements issue
      Video: Jerusalem remains obstacle
      Video: Debating Israeli settlements
      Analysis: US shifting stance on settlements
      Timeline: 1967 Arab-Israeli war

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    The Amnesty report said Israel uses more than 80 per cent of water drawn from the aquifer and while Israel has other water sources, the aquifer is the West Bank's only supply of water.

    In the Gaza Strip, several repair works were under way to improve sanitation before the Israeli blockade was imposed in 2007.

    But the projects have been on hold under the siege, as Israel is preventing repair materials from coming into the Strip.

    Adding to an already dire situation, Israel's war on Gaza early this year left water reservoirs, wells, sewage networks and pumping stations severely damaged.

    The Amnesty report said Gaza's coastal aquifer, its sole fresh water resource, has been polluted by infiltration of seawater and raw sewage and degraded by over-extraction.

    The water situation in Gaza had now reached a "crisis point," with 90 to 95 per cent of the water supply contaminated and unfit for human consumption, Rovera said.

    Israel's water authority called the report "biased and incorrect, at the very least" and said that while there is a water gap, it is not nearly as big as presented by Amnesty.

    The authority said Israel had met its obligations under the Oslo peace agreement but said the Palestinian authorities had failed to meet their own requirements to recycle water and were not distributing water efficiently.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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