The Palestinian Authority is using water as a weapon against the State of Israel, states a new report titled The Truth Behind the Palestinian Water Libels (PDF), issued by Prof. Haim Gvirtzman from the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. You’ll find an online version here.
Gvirtzman is a professor of hydrology at the Institute of Earth Sciences at the Hebrew University and a member of the Israel Water Authority Council. He is also a long-time advisor of the Israel-PA Joint Water Committee.
According to the report, the PA is more interested in reducing the amount of water available to Israel, polluting natural reservoirs, harming Israeli farmers, and sullying Israel’s reputation around the world than truly solving water problems for the Palestinian people.
The Palestinians are not interested in practical solutions to address shortages; rather, they seek to perpetuate the shortages, and to blame the State of Israel.
If you’re a Jewish news junky, you’ll no doubt recall the rude and misinformed allegation by European Parliament President Martin Schulz, who said, from the Knesset podium, mind you, that the amount of water available to the average Israeli unfairly overwhelms the amount of water available to the average Palestinian.
The gaps are significantly smaller than what was suggested by Herr Schulz, but, according to the Prof. Gvirtzman report, the main issue that should be discussed – and has not been sufficiently analyzed – is: What are the causes of Palestinian water supply problems?
Today, the Palestinians consume some 200 million cubic meters of water per annum in Judea and Samaria, Prof. Gvirtzman reports. The Palestinians could easily raise that amount by at least 50 percent, without any additional assistance or allocation from the State of Israel.
His short answer: Water shortages in the Palestinian Authority are the result of Palestinian policies that deliberately waste water and destroy the regional water ecology. The Palestinians refuse to develop their own significant underground water resources, build a seawater desalination plant, fix massive leakage from their municipal water pipes, build sewage treatment plants, irrigate land with treated sewage effluents or modern water-saving devices, or bill their own citizens for consumer water usage, leading to enormous waste.
At the same time, Prof. Gvirtzman continues, they drill illegally into Israel’s water resources, and send their sewage lowing into the valleys and streams of central Israel.
In other words, the Palestinian Authority is using water as a weapon against the State of Israel. It is not interested in practical solutions to solve the Palestinian people’s water shortages, but rather perpetuation of the shortages and the besmirching of Israel.
Here are some of the things the PA is either failing to do, doing ineptly, or intentionally preventing:
The Palestinians do not bother fixing water leaks in city pipes. Up to 33 percent of water in Palestinian cities is wasted through leakage.
Permits were granted to the Palestinians by the Israel-PA Joint Water Committee, for some 40 sites where they can drill into the aquifer in the eastern Hebron hills region, and the international community has offered to finance the drilling of every site. But the Palestinians have preferred to drill wells on the Western Mountain Aquifer, the basin that provides groundwater to the State of Israel. Instead of solving the problem they have chosen to squabble with Israel.
The Palestinians refuse to build water treatment plants, despite their obligation to do so under the Oslo agreement. Sewage flows out of Palestinian towns and villages directly into local streams, thereby polluting the environments and the aquifer and causing the spread of disease.
The Palestinians absolutely refuse to irrigate their agricultural fields with treated sewage effluents. By comparison, more than half the agricultural fields in Israel are irrigated with treated waste water.