WORLD WATER DAY: Palestinian Water Justice Now 22Mar10 March 22, 2010

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This World Water Day, Say “No!”:

“No More Israeli Colonization of Palestinian Water Resources”

Monday is World Water Day.  The theme for this year is water quality.  Most observing this day will be focusing their attention on how to share basic water purification technology with very poor rural communities.  Other water justice advocates will be looking at how to ensure the right to clean water and sanitation for marginalized groups unable to afford services.  On this day, activists in Palestine, however, are speaking out against the Israeli military-controlled, discriminatory permitting system in the West Bank that has blocked a number of fully-funded multi-million dollar sewage treatment plants from being built for more than a decade, and the ongoing siege of Gaza which is preventing the import of materials, spare parts and fuel needed for the day-to-day maintenance and development of normal sewage infrastructure.

Palestinians have the technical capacity, training and investment needed to maintain a highly developed water and sanitation sector. The main obstacle the people of Palestine face with developing and maintaining up-to-date water networks and sewage treatment facilities is the Israeli Civil Administration’s obstruction of projects approved by the Joint Water Committee in the West Bank and Israel’s blockade of basic construction materials and spare parts needed for reconstruction and development in Gaza.

Israel also prevents Palestinians from accessing sufficient quantities of water in the West Bank by denying Palestinians access to the Jordan River as wells as the permits required by Israel to drill new wells or rehabilitate existing wells and springs.  Meanwhile, Israel is over-pumping the shared underground water reserve by more than 80% of what it agreed to pump under the Oslo Accord[1].  Freshwater springs and wells are being colonized by the illegal Segregation Barrier Israel is constructing around and through Palestinian land and by Israeli settlers.  The Segregation Barrier confiscates 19 wells in Qalqilya District and 27 springs in Bethlehem District.  Just this past month Israeli settlers from Hazat Yair began trying to steal the Karawa Beni Hasan spring in Sulfit District.

Communities that do not have enough water, must turn to unprotected sources such as polluted springs and abandoned cisterns to collect water.  Water delivered by water tanker has an increased risk of being contaminated with water-borne diseases and costs up to 12 times as much as water delivered through the water network.

This World Water Day, stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine.  Join the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanction of Israel until Israel upholds Palestinians’ human right to water and sanitation and abides by international law, which forbids Israel’s colonization of Palestinian water resources.

For more information visit or email

[1] World Bank (April, 2009): “Assessment of Restrictions on Palestinian Water Sector Development.”

The EWASH Advocacy Task Force in the occupied Palestinian territory, together with LifeSource has released a DVD entitled “Palestinian Water Rights Now” which contains three new short films about the water and sanitation situation in Gaza and the West Bank along with EWASH Advocacy Task force fact sheets and other extras.

This kit may be used by journalists, diplomats, educators and activists as they work to raise awareness of Israeli violations of  the Palestinians’ human right to water and sanitation and to take action to put real pressure on Israel to follow international law and respect the human rights of Palestinians.

(Directed by Lana Hijazi. Directed and Produced by LifeSource.)
The ongoing Israeli siege is having a negative affect on drinking water quality in the Gaza Strip.  Desalination plants are coming to a halt due to a lack of materials and equipment caused by the blockade.  Many people in Gaza have no option but to drink their unhealthy ground water, which causes a number of health problems, including kidney stones and kidney failure.

(Directed by Pietro Bellorini.  Directed and Produced by LifeSource.)
Two neighboring Palestinian communities in South Hebron, As-Samu’a (20,000 people) and Imneizel (500 people) suffer from bizarre restrictions imposed by Israel on the development of their basic water infrastructure.  After years of negotiations, As-Samu’a was permitted to access some limited additional quantities of water, but on the condition that this water not be distributed to residents through their existing internal piped water distribution network.  30 rainwater harvesting cisterns have been isolated from Imneizel village by the Segregation Wall.  These and other Israeli violations of Palestinians’ human right to water are making it increasingly difficult for Palestinians to access the basic necessities for life and to stay on their land.


(Directed by Fady Al-Ghorra.  Produced by LifeSource.)
A short film from LifeSource about how the Israeli siege is leading to a sanitation disaster in Gaza, causing environmental catastrophe and human tragedy.



About the EWASH Advocacy Task Force
The EWASH Advocacy Task Force in the occupied Palestinian territory is a sub-committee of the EWASH group. (EWASH represents over 25 organizations working in water, sanitation and hygiene in the occupied Palestinian territory and its members include local and international NGOs and UN Agencies).

About LifeSource
LifeSource is a Palestinian-led collective organizing to build a popular movement for Palestinian water justice. LifeSource has been active in Palestine the last two years working with communities on the ground to understand their options and taking action to resist Israel’s colonization of Palestinian water resources.


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