Israel controls 80% of Palestinian water and regional control has methodically
Monday January 08, 2007 04:45 by Palestine News Network - 1 of IMEMC Editorial Group
Palestinian researcher Abu Kishek said that the Arab water security is threatened due to Israeli policy and that any political solution to the Palestinian issue will not happen except through the water.
The researcher said that Arab water security is facing a number of challenges, and has been for a long time. However, little attention has been paid to Israel's steady take-over of water resources.
“The solution to the entire situation lies in the subject of water.” He pointed out that Israel began its quest to control Palestinian water when the state was established in 1948. Water has assumed top priority for Israel since it nationalized its water project in 1949.
Israel worked to gain control of the groundwater and surface water in the Jordan River basin, threatening the most fertile agricultural area. After the occupation of the Golan Heights, West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip in 1967, Israel began taking control of all of those water resources and visits to Lebanon began. Israel recently built a dam near Syria's Israeli-occupied Golan Heights near the ceasefire line.
The Israeli government denies permits to Palestinians to dig new wells on their own land. This is an old practice that means once a well is dry, there is no more water. Inside Israeli settlements the drilling is free-flowing as it notable from a distance in the greenery. A Palestinian researcher reports that Israel controls 80 percent of Palestinian water resources.
Abu Kishek said that Israel's route in building of the Wall inside the West Bank conforms 100 percent with the course of water basins and groundwater wells in the West Bank. Per capita Israelis inside Israeli borders consume four times more than Palestinians, while Israeli settlers in the West Bank consume seven times more than Palestinians.
Regarding the Israeli policy to control the water in Palestine, he said that it includes the destruction of large parts of the water utilities, such as the demolition of wells and the destruction of irrigation systems and reservoirs and water lines in the West Bank. This all results in a major deficit in the underground reservoir, and the increasing suffering of some of the population for access to drinking water on a daily basis. Israel's destruction of the water supply for many Palestinian cities added to the salt content of the well water in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which has also led to a decline in agricultural production.
Abu Kishek pointed out that Israel has dug 500 water devices along the boundary of the West Bank, while along the northern edge of the Gaza Strip Israeli pumps operate 18 hours per day. The route of the Wall in the West Bank was set to take the Palestinian water supply into Israeli boundaries, in addition to what is already taken by the Israeli settlements inside the West Bank. And that included destroying existing greenery and agriculture.
Israel has also been diverting water from the Jordan River and part of the waters of the Negev's western basin. The ill-effects of Israeli water theft are clear on the Dead Sea, which the Israelis are now trying to have the Red Sea pump into by destroying large tracts of land to build a connecting point.
Abu Kishek added that the goal of the Israeli government in its frequent visits to Lebanon was to gain control of regional water. In 1978 Israel was able to control the waters of the Litani River and had installed pumps large near the Khardali Bridge, with a pipeline stretching 10 kilometers from the river through the town of Taibe. Israel had major storage tanks in the southern outskirts of the town of Aita Al Shaab for storing Litani water and distribution methods to the settlements in the Upper Galilee.
Israel had transferred the waters of the Litani River to Lake Tiberias which is inside Israeli boundaries and under its control. Israel also dominated the water of the Hasbani River. There are also Israeli attempts to take control of the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates. There is also the role of Israel in the conflict over the waters of the Nile.
As for reasons for the water crisis in the Arab world, Abu Kishek said that there are several. They range from irregular rainfall, to the fact that most of the sources of rivers come from outside its political borders, effects of global warming, large population increases, development projects and ambitions in foreign waters that seek to control and exploit.