Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fareed Taamallah, "A Thirst for West Bank Water Environment," The Nation, June 9, 2006.

Recommended by TOI-Billboard, ezine of The Other Israel and Occupation Magazine.

Israel's planned annexation of West Bank aquifers will perpetuate high Israeli water-consumption levels while denying basic Palestinian needs, and will dim any hope for a viable Palestinian state and for peace.

During Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's recent visit to Washington, President Bush declared Olmert's "convergence" plan "bold." For Palestinians, however, it is disastrous, because it will annex much of the West Bank's water and fertile land to Israel.

Under Olmert's plan, Israel aims to keep the two main Palestinian West Bank aquifers: the lower Jordan River basin in the east, and the eastern mountain aquifer, trapped behind Israel's wall in the west. This will force Palestinians to depend on Israel for water, preserving the status quo, a dramatically unjust division of water resources.

One example of this vastly unequal division of water resources is my West Bank village of Qira. Every summer the Israeli company that supplies water to our village and that provides about 53 percent of the total Palestinian domestic water supply deliberately cuts off our water, thus generating a crisis. Last year Qira, a village of 1,000 residents, had no water for more than three continuous weeks, despite the summer heat.

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