Residents of Nablus in the occupied West Bank are suffering from increasing water shortages, according to a new report by B’Tselem.
The rights group reported: “Israel prevents the Palestinians from digging new wells and refuses to sell them more water to ease the suffering.” Consequently, “in summer residents must purchase water privately, at high costs, and use it for essential needs only.”
Israel abuses its control of all water sources between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean by subjecting Palestinians to a permanent shortage of water.
In 2014, Palestinian water consumption in the West Bank was about 80 litres per person a day, lower the than the 100-litre minimum recommended by the World Health Organisation. That same year, “average water consumption for household, commercial and industrial needs in Israel was some 287 litres per person a day – almost four times the average Palestinian consumption.”
B’Tselem notes that “Israel impedes the development of new Palestinian water infrastructure, destroys and confiscates existing infrastructure, and limits Palestinian access to local water sources such as fresh water springs, drilled wells and rainwater cisterns”.
“Together,” the NGO concludes, “these factors have created a permanent water shortage for Palestinians in the West Bank.”
This “state of affairs clearly illustrates how Israel views water – and all other resources in the West Bank – as its sole property, to be used for Israeli needs only, at the expense of Palestinians.”