Israeli occupation impact on water in Palestine
- 44 Defa Okundu
The Israeli occupying Power has been seeking to control Arab and Palestinian waters without any legal basis by the force of actual occupation
The West Bank, with its conditions of nature (climatic, topography, geological) and geographical location, is of great importance to the water resources of Palestine. Since the occupation of Palestine in 1948, Israel has been depriving the Palestinian people of their water rights; The Israeli occupation authorities have issued dozens of military orders to control the entire water of Palestine and to obtain the right to take absolute action on water, and from these orders:
1. Military order No. 92 stipulates that "all water-related matters shall be given full control to the Israeli water officer".
2. Military order No. 58 of 19 August 1967 states that "the establishment of any new Palestinian water facility without a license shall be strictly prohibited, and the water officer shall have the right to reject any Palestinian request without giving any reasons".
3. Military order No. 158 of 1 October 1967, which stipulates that all wells, springs and water projects shall be placed under the direct authority of the Israeli military Governor.
4. Military order No. 291 of 1967 states that "all water resources in the Palestinian territories have become the property of the occupying Power".
5. Military order 948 states: "Every Palestinian citizen must obtain the approval of the Israeli military ruler if he wants to carry out any water-related project".
In accordance with these orders, Israel has applied a series of measures, such as:
• Determine the amount of water that wells owners are allowed to be pumped in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
• Prevent the excavation of new wells for agricultural purposes and restrict the granting of new well drilling permits and the use of springs.
• Confiscating water wells from Palestinian farmers for Israeli settlements benefit.
• The occupation authorities have determined the Palestinians the depth of digging wells not more than 120 meters.
• Depriving Palestinians of their rights from Jordan River waters.
• Stealing huge amount of Palestinian water wells through digging wells inside Israeli settlements and it is estimated to be approximately 50 wells inside settelments in the west bank and 43 wells in the Gaza strip.
• Dams are established to reserve the water of the valleys and prevent them from reaching the Palestinian territories as they do in the Gaza Valley.
• Transfer of high-quality water from Israeli settlements to Israeli cities within the occupied entity.
• The Israeli state of occupation through (microT) company sells water to Palestinians at very high prices that exceed the price of selling it to Zionist occupiers by many times.
• The Israeli occupation forces have imposed severe restrictions on Palestinian municipalities that restrict the development of water supplies for Palestinian cities and villages, as 150 Palestinian communities in the West Bank are still not connected to the water distribution network and suffer from water shortages.
• The occupation government refused to give the specified amount of water to the West Bank and Gaza Strip governorates according to Oslo agreement.
• The occupation state contributes greatly to polluting the Palestinian groundwater through draining the water of settlements that are going back to the Palestinian sandy areas and valleys where fresh water is available.
The occupation State exploits about 85% of the groundwater stock in the West Bank, which equals 600 million cubic meters covering 25% of the occupation State's needs, 70% of the Israeli settlements are located on the eastern tank basin in the West Bank, and Israel consumes more than one billion cubic meters of the water of the Jordan River; This is more than Israel's share according to Johnston's plan, estimated at about 565 million cubic meters, and in a report by Harvard Middle East Studies Institute, Israel seeks to shift 400 million cubic meters of Litani River water in Lebanon to Israelis by gravity.
According to all the above data, the Israeli occupying Power has been seeking to control Arab and Palestinian waters without any legal basis by the force of actual occupation and has taken over ground and surface water in violation of all international norms and laws that do not recognize such unjust exploitation, which does not take into account the interests of the Palestinian population. Zionist settlers have been supplied with abundant fresh water for their agricultural and industrial projects on occupied West Bank lands in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Hague Convention of 1907.
Abdullatif Khader / Palestinian lawyer specialized in occupation and wall of apartheid matter