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Posts Tagged ‘Occupied Palestinian Territories’

NO Water for Palestinians

Posted by terres on October 27, 2009

Israel’s Final Act of Genocide

The following report was released by Amnesty International on October 27, 2009

Israel rations Palestinians to trickle of water

Amnesty International has accused Israel of denying Palestinians the right to access adequate water by maintaining total control over the shared water resources and pursuing discriminatory policies.

daily water occupied West Bank

Daily consumption of water per person in the occupied West Bank. Image created by RTSF based on AI data.

These unreasonably restrict the availability of water in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and prevent the Palestinians developing an effective water infrastructure there.

“Israel allows the Palestinians access to only a fraction of the shared water resources, which lie mostly in the occupied West Bank, while the unlawful Israeli settlements there receive virtually unlimited supplies. In Gaza the Israeli blockade has made an already dire situation worse,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s researcher on Israel and the OPT.

In a new extensive report, Amnesty International revealed the extent to which Israel’s discriminatory water policies and practices are denying Palestinians their right to access to water.

Israel uses more than 80 per cent of the water from the Mountain Aquifer, the main source of underground water in Israel and the OPT, while restricting Palestinian access to a mere 20 per cent.

The Mountain Aquifer is the only source for water for Palestinians in the West Bank, but only one of several for Israel, which also takes for itself all the water available from the Jordan River.

While Palestinian daily water consumption barely reaches 70 litres a day per person, Israeli daily consumption is more than 300 litres per day, four times as much.

In some rural communities Palestinians survive on barely 20 litres per day, the minimum amount recommended for domestic use in emergency situations.

Some 180,000-200,000 Palestinians living in rural communities have no access to running water and the Israeli army often prevents them from even collecting rainwater.

In contrast, Israeli settlers, who live in the West Bank in violation of international law, have intensive-irrigation farms, lush gardens and swimming pools.

Numbering about 450,000, the settlers use as much or more water than the Palestinian population of some 2.3 million.

“TARGET PRACTICE” – SOLDIERS SHOOTING AT WATER TANKS

A feature which distinguishes the roofs of homes in Palestinian towns and villages from the
Israeli settlements in the OPT are the rainwater collection tanks. Virtually every Palestinian
house has at least one such tank and most have several. The reason is the perennial water
shortage which the Palestinians face but which does not affect Israeli settlers.

Where’s the Water?

An empty Palestinian agricultural reservoir near Jiftlik in the West Bank - AI
An empty Palestinian agricultural reservoir near Jiftlik in the West Bank. © AI

Israeli settlers in Maaleh Adumim enjoy a swim - AGG
Israeli settlers in Maaleh Adumim enjoy a swim. © Angela Godfrey-Goldstein

In the Gaza Strip, 90 to 95 per cent of the water from its only water resource, the Coastal Aquifer, is contaminated and unfit for human consumption. Yet, Israel does not allow the transfer of water from the Mountain Aquifer in the West Bank to Gaza.

Stringent restrictions imposed in recent years by Israel on the entry into Gaza of material and equipment necessary for the development and repair of infrastructure have caused further deterioration of the water and sanitation situation in Gaza, which has reached crisis point.

poisoned-water-palsolidarity-copy
Sewage Contaminated Water from a Palestinian Well. Source: Australians For Palestine

To cope with water shortages and lack of network supplies many Palestinians have to purchase water, of often dubious quality, from mobile water tankers at a much higher price.

Others resort to water-saving measures which are detrimental to their and their families’ health and which hinder socio-economic development.

“Over more than 40 years of occupation, restrictions imposed by Israel on the Palestinians’ access to water have prevented the development of water infrastructure and facilities in the OPT, consequently denying hundreds of thousand of Palestinians the right to live a normal life, to have adequate food, housing, or health, and to economic development,” said Donatella Rovera.

Israel has appropriated large areas of the water-rich Palestinian land it occupies and barred Palestinians from accessing them.

It has also imposed a complex system of permits which the Palestinians must obtain from the Israeli army and other authorities in order to carry out water-related projects in the OPT. Applications for such permits are often rejected or subject to long delays.

Restrictions imposed by Israel on the movement of people and goods in the OPT further compound the difficulties Palestinians face when trying to carry out water and sanitation projects, or even just to distribute small quantities of water.

Water tankers are forced to take long detours to avoid Israeli military checkpoints and roads which are out of bounds to Palestinians, resulting in steep increases in the price of water.

In rural areas, Palestinian villagers are continuously struggling to find enough water for their basic needs, as the Israeli army often destroys their rainwater harvesting cisterns and confiscates their water tankers.

In comparison, irrigation sprinklers water the fields in the midday sun in nearby Israeli settlements, where much water is wasted as it evaporates before even reaching the ground.

In some Palestinian villages, because their access to water has been so severely restricted, farmers are unable to cultivate the land, or even to grow small amounts of food for their personal consumption or for animal fodder, and have thus been forced to reduce the size of their herds.

“Water is a basic need and a right, but for many Palestinians obtaining even poor-quality subsistence-level quantities of water has become a luxury that they can barely afford,” said Donatella Rovera.

“Israel must end its discriminatory policies, immediately lift all the restrictions it imposes on Palestinians’ access to water, and take responsibility for addressing the problems it created by allowing Palestinians a fair share of the shared water resources.”


“Water resources in the Gaza Strip were already
in the throes of an environmental crisis prior to
the latest escalation of hostilities; the recent
events aggravated the situation… the collapse of
sewage treatment during the period accelerated
the pollution load into the underlying aquifer.”

UNEP, September 2009

Sewage mains in northern - AI
Sewage mains in northern Gaza destroyed by Israeli air strikes in December 2008/January 2009 © AI

TROUBLED WATERS – PALESTINIANS DENIED FAIR ACCESS TO WATER
ISRAEL-OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  • Lack of access to adequate, safe and clean water has been a longstanding problem for Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), principally as a result of discriminatory Israeli policies and practices. Palestinians use about 70 litres of water per capita a day, barely a quarter of the amount used by Israelis.
  • Access to water resources for Palestinians in the OPT is controlled by Israel and is restricted to a level that does not meet their needs and does not constitute a fair and equitable share of the shared water resources.
  • Some 180,000-200,000 Palestinians in rural communities in the West Bank have no access to running water. Some are surviving on less than 20 litres a day, the minimum recommended for emergency situations response. Even in towns and villages connected to the water network, the taps often run dry – sometimes for weeks or even months.
  • In Gaza the aquifer is depleted and contaminated – more than 90 per cent of the water supply is unfit for human consumption. The Israeli blockade of Gaza prevents the entry of desperately needed material for the construction and repair of water facilities and has made an already dire situation worse.
  • The water shortage has hindered social and economic development for Palestinians in the OPT and has resulted in violations of their right to an adequate standard of living, including the rights to water, food, health, work and adequate housing. [Copyright AI]

Vegetable crops and irrigation network being uprooted by an Israeli army bulldozer in Jiftlik
Vegetable crops and irrigation network being uprooted by an Israeli army bulldozer in Jiftlik, Jordan Valley, 11 March 2008.
© Amnesty International

See Also: The day the bulldozers came…

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Posted in Gaza, Gaza Strip, Gaza Strip environmental crisis, Israeli settlers, Maaleh Adumim, OPT, Water in Palestine | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Plight of Gazans amid Israel’s Scorched Earth Policy

Posted by terres on February 6, 2009

Thousands of Gazans survivors are forced to live in tents after Israel’s three-week murderous campaign of bombing and shelling obliterated their homes. Refugees in their own country, they subsist on what little food Israel allows to reach them, less than a tenth of what they need!

Homeless Palestinians squeeze into tents in Gaza

By Andrew Hammond

HAY AL-SALAM, Gaza Strip, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Thousands of Palestinians are living in tented camps after Israel’s three-week assault on the Gaza Strip, hoping for a swift end to Israel’s blockade so they can rebuild their homes.

Palestinian women sit in front of tents near their destroyed house in Jabalya, in the northern Gaza Strip, February 4, 2009. Picture taken February 4, 2009. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (GAZA). Image may be subject to copyright.

Aid workers said on Thursday at least 16,000 people have found temporary accommodation in 10 camps set up in districts laid to waste in a war that local medical officials said left around 1,300 Palestinians dead and more than 5,000 wounded.

But conditions are cramped, with several thousands of tents held up at border crossings from Israel into the Gaza Strip.

Israel has limited supplies into the coastal enclave since Hamas Islamists took control in fighting with the Fatah group of U.S.-backed Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

“I worked for 28 years as a teacher in the United Arab Emirates and I put it all into this house,” said Yousef Abu Eida, pointing to a collapsed concrete mass behind the tents in the Hay al-Salam district of Jabalya refugee camp.

“I lost everything.”

Aid agencies have handed out blankets for the cold nights, when the camp residents gather around log fires. So far, latrines have only been installed in some of them.

But with no formal ceasefire in place between Israel and Hamas, they say they don’t feel safe. The Israeli border is visible only a short distance away.

“We can’t sleep at night. We’re afraid the tanks will come back. They (Israelis) say they want this area as a ‘safe zone’. People are frightened,” said Bashir Khidr, who shares a tent with 20 other people.

COLLAPSED HOMES

As he talks, children navigate the concrete slabs and twisted iron and steel of collapsed homes.

Building materials are banned because Israel says they could be used for making rockets fired into its south.

“We ask European and Arab countries to open the crossings to allow building materials in and humanitarian needs to give shelter to thousands,” said Diab Dhumeida, a charity volunteer.

He said 450 families lost homes in the Salam district and another 340 tents are needed to give each a space of their own.

Aid pledged by countries around the world has only trickled in pending a deal between Israel, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt, which borders Gaza on the south.

Khalil Abufoul, head of disaster management unit at the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, said that 800 to 1,000 trucks used to enter the territory daily before the 2007 Israeli blockade.

“During the war it fell to 50 to 60 trucks a day — now it’s about 100 to 120 for different organisations and companies,” Abufoul said. “For me this is not humanitarian access, you need more flow than before but the flow is very little.” (Editing by Samia Nakhoul). Copyright Reuters.

Posted in humanitarian needs, Israeli blockade, Jabalya refugee camp, Palestinian Red Crescent Society, Salam district | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The U.S: A Country Without a President!

Posted by terres on January 3, 2009

by Ralph Nader [sent: Thu 1/1/2009 9:04 AM]

Dear George W. Bush—

Cong. Barney Frank said recently that Barack Obama’s declaration that “there is only one president at a time” over-estimated the number. He was referring to the economic crisis. But where are you on the Gaza crisis where the civilian population of Gaza, its civil servants and public facilities are being massacred and destroyed respectively by U.S built F-16s and U.S. built helicopter gunships.

The deliberate suspension of your power to stop this terrorizing of 1.5 million people, mostly refugees, blockaded for months by air, sea and land in their tiny slice of land, is in cowardly contrast to the position taken by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956. That year he single handedly stopped the British, French and Israeli aircraft attack against Egypt during the Suez Canal dispute.

Fatalities in Gaza are already over 400 and injuries close to 2000 so far as is known. Total Palestinian civilian casualties are 400 times greater then the casualties incurred by Israelis. But why should anyone be surprised at your blanket support for Israel’s attack given what you have done to a far greater number of civilians in Iraq and now in Afghanistan?

Confirmed visual reports show that Israeli warplanes and warships have destroyed or severely damaged police stations, homes, hospitals, pharmacies, mosques, fishing boats, and a range of public facilities providing electricity and other necessities.

Why should this trouble you at all? It violates international law, including the Geneva Conventions and the UN Charter. You too have repeatedly violated international law and committed serious constitutional transgressions.

Then there is the matter of the Israeli government blocking imports of critical medicines, equipment such as dialysis machines, fuel, food, water, spare parts and electricity at varying intensities for almost two years. The depleted UN aid mission there has called this illegal blockade a humanitarian crisis especially devastating to children, the aged and the infirm. Chronic malnutrition among children is rising rapidly. UN rations support eighty percent of this impoverished population.

How do these incontrovertible facts affect you? Do you have any empathy or what you have called Christian charity?

What would a vastly shrunken Texas turned in an encircled Gulag do up against the 4th most powerful military in the world? Would these embattled Texans be spending their time chopping wood?

Gideon Levy, the veteran Israeli columnist for Ha’aretz, called the Israeli attack a “brutal and violent operation” far beyond what was needed for protecting the people in its south. He added: “The diplomatic efforts were just in the beginning, and I believe we could have got to a new truce without this bloodshed…..to send dozens of jets to bomb a total helpless civilian society with hundreds of bombs—just today, they were burying five sisters. I mean, this is unheard of. This cannot go on like this. And this has nothing to do with self-defense or with retaliation even. It went out of proportion, exactly like two-and-a-half years ago in Lebanon.”

Apparently, thousands of Israelis, including some army reservists, who have demonstrated against this destruction of Gaza agree with Mr. Levy. However, their courageous stands have not reached the mass media in the U.S. whose own reporters cannot even get into Gaza due to Israeli prohibitions on the international press.

Your spokespeople are making much ado about the breaking of the six month truce. Who is the occupier? Who is the most powerful military force? Who controls and blocks the necessities of life? Who has sent raiding missions across the border most often? Who has sent artillery shells and missiles at close range into populated areas? Who has refused the repeated comprehensive peace offerings of the Arab countries issued in 2002 if Israel would agree to return to the 1967 borders and agree to the creation of a small independent Palestinian state possessing just twenty two percent of the original Palestine?

The “wildly inaccurate rockets”, as reporters describe them, coming from Hamas and other groups cannot compare with the modern precision armaments and human damage generated from the Israeli side.

There are no rockets coming from the West Bank into Israel. Yet the Israeli government is still sending raiders into that essentially occupied territory, still further entrenching its colonial outposts, still taking water and land and increasing the checkpoints This is going on despite a most amenable West Bank leader, Mahmoud Abbas, whom you have met with at the White House and praised repeatedly. Is it all vague words and no real initiatives with you and your emissary Condoleezza Rice?

Peace was possible, but you provided no leadership, preferring instead to comply with all wishes and demands by the Israeli government—even resupplying it with the still active cluster bombs in south Lebanon during the invasion of that country in 2006.

The arguments about who started the latest hostilities go on and on with Israel always blaming the Palestinians to justify all kinds of violence and harsh treatment against innocent civilians.

From the Palestinian standpoint, you would do well to remember the origins of this conflict which was the dispossession of their lands. To afford you some empathy, recall the oft-quoted comment by the founder of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, who told the Zionist leader, Nahum Goldmann:

“There has been anti-Semitism the Nazis Hitler Auschwitz but was that their [the Palestinians] fault? They only see one thing: We have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?”

Alfred North Whitehead once said: “Duty arises out of the power to alter the course of events.” By that standard, you have shirked mightily your duty over the past eight years to bring peace to both Palestinians and Israelis and more security to a good part of the world.

The least you can do in your remaining days at the White House is adopt a modest profile in courage, and vigorously demand and secure a ceasefire and a solidly based truce. Then your successor, President-elect Obama can inherit something more than the usual self-censoring Washington puppet show that eschews a proper focus on the national interests of the United States.

END.

Posted in Afghanistan, International Law, Iraq, UN Charter, US president | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Top UN Official Condemns Apartheid by Israel

Posted by terres on November 29, 2008

International community should consider sanctions against Israel including ‘boycott, divestment and sanctions’ —UN General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann

“General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann said the international community should consider sanctions against Israel including ‘boycott, divestment and sanctions’ similar to those enacted against South Africa two decades ago.” The Jerusalem Post reported.

Father d’Escoto added: “Israeli policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories appear so similar to the apartheid of an earlier era, a continent away. I believe it is very important that we in the United Nations use this term. We must not be afraid to call something what it is.”


Nasser al Bourai carries the body of his 6-months old son Mohammed al Bourai who was killed by an Israeli missile in occupied Gaza. Image Credit: Mohammed Omer – Rafah Today 2008-03-01. Image may be subject to copyright. For more images: Click here.


Mourners carrying the body of Tamer Abu Shaar to be buried in Deir Al Balah  cemetery. Tamar was ‘luckier’ than Mohammed al Bourai because he made it to the grand age of 9 before being cut down by Israeli occupation forces. Photo Credit: RafahToday. Image may be subject to copyright.

Remarks by Phyllis Bennis

Bennis is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies and serves on the steering committee of the U.S. Campaign to End Israeli Occupation. Her books include “Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer.”

She said: “The humanitarian crisis in Gaza—which will not be reversed simply by Israel’s one-time loosening of the siege on Monday— has escalated largely outside public view, with Israel continuing to prevent foreign journalists and UN officials from entering, while keeping Palestinian journalists and human rights workers from leaving the besieged Gaza Strip. Father Miguel d’Escoto’s statement to the UN General Assembly on Monday helped cast some new light on that too-often hidden reality.

“But even beyond the Gaza crisis, d’Escoto’s statement was significant for his call on the United Nations to follow the lead of former Presidents Nelson Mandela and Jimmy Carter, along with a growing number of Jewish, Christian and other civil society organizations around the world, including the U.S. Campaign to End Israeli Occupation here in the U.S., who recognize the applicability of the term ‘apartheid’ to describe Israeli policies towards Palestinians, and call for a South African-style non-violent boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign to pressure Israel to end those illegal practices.” Source.

See d’Escoto’s remarks at: http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/unifeed/detail/10515.html [Registration required.]

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Posted in GENOCIDE, human rights, humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Israel, Phyllis Bennis | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »