Palestinians' Water Cut 'To A Trickle'

SKYNEWS
Amnesty International has launched a scathing attack on Israel, accusing it of rationing Palestinians to a "trickle of water".
Amnesty International says Palestinian crops are being destroyed by a lack of water. The human rights organisation says Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza are being denied the right to adequate water supplies.

"Israel allows the Palestinians access to only a fraction of the shared water resources, which lie mostly in the occupied West Bank," says the report's author, Donatella Rovera, "while the unlawful Israeli settlements receive virtually unlimited supplies."

It is claimed that total control of water supplies and discriminatory policies allow Israelis to use more than 80% of water from the Mountain Aquifer - the main source of water in the occupied West Bank - compared to only 20% going to Palestinians.

Palestinians are subject to the military orders controlling their use of water, while Jewish settlers in the West Bank are not. They answer to civilian Israeli law.

Israel denies 'rationing' water

The inequitable arrangement allows Jewish settlements, illegal under international law, to maintain swimming pools, lush gardens and irrigated agriculture, while Palestinians are often subject to rationing and shortages, says the report.

Israel disputes the allegations.

"We reject any charge of discriminatory policy," Israeli prime ministerial spokesman Mark Regev told Sky News.

The quantity of water Israel takes from the Mountain Aquifer is now less than it was in 1967, he claims. Israelis consume 66% less fresh water now per head than they did then. Palestinians consume 16% more. Although that still leaves Israelis consuming 70% more fresh water than Palestinians per head.

Teacher and father-of-seven Bassam Qdah has built a concrete water tank to collect rain water in his home in the village of Shukba.

The Israeli army has told him it will be demolished because it was built without a permit.

"We have seven young children," he told Amnesty researchers, "and even if we use it sparingly, we still need quite a bit of water.

"Why would they want to demolish this small cistern? It does not bother anyone and is on my land."