Today, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah issued a statement condemning Israel’s illegal practice of destroying Palestinian water infrastructure. “Israel uses every means possible to chase Palestinians away from their ancestral land,” Hamdallah said. “Water is life, and if you don’t have water you cannot exist.”
On Tuesday, Israel handed out demolition notices for four water wells and agricultural structures in the village of Qusra, south of Nablus. The water wells were built with Dutch financial support. Last week, Israel threatened to demolish four water tanks in the town of Beit Ummar, close to Hebron. Those tanks had been constructed as part of a UN-funded water development program.
Israel regularly destroys Palestinians’ homes and structures; in many instances, these structures had been funded by donor countries. In 2016 alone, Israel destroyed over 600 structures. “The destruction of water infrastructure is atrocious; while Palestinians struggle with water shortages, Israeli settlers use scarce water resources to fill up their swimming pools,” said Jamal Dajani, Director of Strategic Communications & Media for the Prime Minister. He called upon donor countries to take action to protect Palestinian farmers from illegal Israeli incursions.
In the West Bank, Israeli settlers consume approximately six times the amount of water used by Palestinians; this discrepancy is even greater when water used for agricultural purposes is taken into account. According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Israel uses 86 percent of the water extracted from the Mountain Aquifer, which is a trans-boundary resource that must be shared between both sides in an equitable and reasonable manner.