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Companies pillaging water resources in West Bank are violating international law, warns NGO

July 14, 2022 at 3:50 pm

A Palestinian girl fills jerrycans with spring water in Salfit, West Bank [Nedal Eshtayah/ApaImages]

Several companies complicit in destroying and pillaging water resources in occupied Palestine have been warned that they are violating Palestinians’ right to self-determination and international law.

Al-Haq, a Palestinian NGO, has called out a number of companies including Israel’s national water company, Mekorot, Hagihon Company, TAHAL Group International B.V, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Caterpillar, manufacturing giant JCB and Volvo Group.

According to Wafa news agency, the corporations enable Israel’s appropriation of water by supporting the ongoing dispossession of the already restricted water access to Palestinian communities.

An example includes Israel’s national water company, Mekorot, which uses stolen water to increase the supply to illegal Israeli settlements, which have a high demand. It does not do the same for Palestinian communities and cities in the occupied West Bank. Indeed, it discriminates systematically, and denies water to the Palestinian population, the rights group said.

In a letter addressed to the companies, Al-Haq wrote: “By illegally appropriating large water quantities from Palestinians, Mekorot’s actions may amount to the war crime of pillage. Mekorot’s drilling of illegal wells, along with TAHAL’s infrastructural support, serves illegal Israeli settlements with an unlimited supply of water, while simultaneously restricting water supply for Palestinian communities in the same region.”

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“This sustains the transfer of a foreign population into the OPT, constituting a violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Through these actions, Mekorot, and many other corporations, blatantly violate Palestinians’ means of subsistence, a violation of Article 1(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 1(2) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.”

The Palestinian rights organisation called on the corporations to terminate their business in the occupied territories and “to act with enhanced due diligence to avoid further involvement in serious human rights violations and war crimes.”

Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967. Human rights abuses against Palestinians and breaches of international law are daily occurrences.