Israeli water utility company Hagihon has stopped the regular supply of running water to a number of Palestinian neighbourhoods in occupied East Jerusalem, according to a statement issued by Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem.
The affected neighbourhoods are the Shu’fat Refugee Camp, Ras Khamis, Ras Sh’hadeh and Dahiyat As-Salam. They have all been isolated from the rest of Jerusalem by the Separation Wall.
B’Tselem stated that: “Some homes in these neighbourhoods have been completely cut off from the water supply; others receive water intermittently; and as for the rest, the water pressure in the pipes is so low that the water does not reach the faucets.”
The result, B’Tselem said, is that “an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 Palestinians – mostly permanent residents of Israel – have been left without a regular water supply.”
Trying to solve their problem, the residents spent three weeks applying to Hagihon and to the Jerusalem Municipality, seeking to have running water restored.
However, B’Tselem pointed out that the applications of the affected residents were ignored. Therefore, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) petitioned the High Court of Justice on 25 March 2014 seeking to have the water supply renewed without delay.
“On 2 April 2014, the Court instructed the State of Israel to respond to ACRI’s petition within 60 days, setting the deadline for the first week of June,” B’Tselem said.
In the meantime, the residents of these neighbourhoods have had no regular running water. B’Tselem reported residents walking at least one kilometre to get the needed daily supplies of water from relatives’ houses, sometimes repeating this journey several times a day.