Territory Water and Justice
There is such a thing as International Law. There are rules and obligations which it imposes on an occupying power. Certain minimal obligations towards letting an occupied population enjoy a certain minimal standard of living.There was a time when Israeli rule was more or less within this framework. Now it is totally broken. The only consideration, overriding everything else, is maintenance of the settlements, which are inherently
a violation of International Law.
--Avigdor Feldman, prominent Israeli attorney,at a Tel Aviv symposium, March 12, 2003
Report on Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories
One thing we hear about here when talking about the Israeli Palestinian issue is that the Palestinian People refused Ehud Barak's generous offer for Peace. At Gush Shalom I have found a very revealing graphical representation that offers the facts and figures of this "generous" offer. Initially the Palestinians agreed to keep about 22% of their homeland, conceding the rest of Palestine to bring about Peace. Israel wished to keep 69 illegal Israeli settlements comprising another 10 percent of what was originally these peoples homeland. Explore the link to see just what the deal offered was.
There is plainly nothing just or generous about it, see for yourself. You be the judge.
This "Peace Plan" would leave the Palestinian people to live in what Hitler termed "Ghettos" , what were known in South Africa as Bantustans.
In the late 1970's, hoping to forestall the end of white rule, South Africa began to create "Bantustans." These were nominally "independent" homelands to which all of South Africa's blacks were eventually supposed to be transferred. The end result, so the apartheid rulers hoped, would be a strong white South Africa with few or no black citizens, surrounded by a constellation of poor, weak black states which it could easily control and exploit as a source of cheap labor.
The reality behind this further attempt by Israel to grab Palestinian lands will help you to understand the injustice the Palestinian people are suffering by not getting back the territory they held until 1967. They have granted their Israeli neighbors a huge concession as it is.
Moshe Dayan: "We came to this country which was already populated by Arabs, and we are establishing a Hebrew, that is a Jewish state here. In considerable areas of the country [the total area was about 6%] we bought the lands from the Arabs. Jewish Villages were built in place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you, because these geography books no longer exist; not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahalal [Dayan's own village] arose in the place of Mahalal, Gevat-- in the place of Jibta, [Kibbutz] Sarid-- in the place of Haneifs and Kefar Yehoshua-- in the place of Tell Shaman. There is not one place in the country that did not have a former Arab population." [Ha`aretz, April 4 1969]
Quoted from"The Question of Palestine" by Edward Said
Water is a very important part of territorial dispute. According to the UN mandated borders (The Green Line) Israel controlled only 3% of the Jordan Basin area. Now Israel controls the majority of its water. Palestinians utilize only 0.5% of water from the Jordan. Israel controls 80% of Palestinian Aquifers of the Occupied Territories. There are approximately 215,000 Palestinians in 150 villages without piped in water. Only 23 new well permits have been allowed by Israeli military authorities since 1967.The "separation Wall" will further exacerbate Palestinian water woes:
At least 32 groundwater wells, with an approximate total discharge of 4 MCM/year, are expected to be affected by the construction of the Wall in this first phase alone, in addition to the consequences to the agricultural lands relying on these wells. In the cases of these wells, they are to be separated from the communities and farmers dependent on them by being placed on the western side of the wall, with the communities to the east. These groundwater wells are located in the Western Groundwater Basin and were drilled prior to 1967. As a result, Palestinians will loose nearly 18% of their share of the Western Groundwater Basin.
Losing 18% of what they are now allowed is drastic.
In the hot months Palestinians must use water saved in cisterns, while the settlers water allotment is upped the water to Palestinian towns is shut off to allow for this increase in consumption. Overall, Palestinians are allowed 70 liters per person per day, while the average Israeli uses 282 liters per day. USAID and the WHO recommend 100 liters as the bare minimum amount a people need per person for domestic as well as civic use( schools, etc).
Water is costly. The percentage of Palestinians that cannot afford their piped in water bills is reaching towards 100%. Settlers pay $.40 for their piped domestic water while Palestinians pay $1.20.
Many communities that depend on trucked in water cannot afford the cost; a cost that is rising due to negotiating checkpoints making for increased transportation times. Many of the trucks are having trouble actually accessing water.
The Israeli water company Mekerot has lessened the amount of water they supply to some communities, and stopped supplying others.
There is more to the picture than meets the eye when you get your news from the mainstream media. The Palestinian/Israeli issue is complex and warrants much exploration. Consider the issue in all its depth yourself, and the next time you here it reduced to a simplistic religious conflict give folks some insight, e-mail them some of the links I've shared. Knowledge is power, and the truth will out.
Resources: How the Wall will effect Palestinian ability to access water