Ingevolge de uitspraken van de Voorzitter van het Europees Parlement, Martin Schulz, vorige week in de Knesset over de “waterproblematiek”: enkele feiten op een rijtje die de waterbevoorrading in Israël en Judea & Samaria schetsten:
The Water Situation in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank)
1. Palestinian officials have accused Israel of causing water problems in the West Bank. These accusations are divorced from reality and contradict the facts on the ground.
2. Today, more than 95% of the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria is connected to a water supply network, a percentage higher than in most of the world. This situation is due to active efforts on the part of Israel and contrasts strongly to the state of affairs in 1967, when only 10% of the population was connected. The reliability of the water supply in most of the Palestinian cities is better than that in neighboring Amman and Damascus. …
3. It must be emphasized that, according to official Palestinian data, Palestinians in the West Bank have at their disposal 103 liters of fresh water per capita per day , and the figure is even higher in some localities (223 in Jericho, 160 in Bethlehem and 147 in Ramallah). This is above the threshold set by UNDP, which stands at 100 liters per capita per day. Also, the Palestinians are not actually using the entire amount of water at their disposal, mainly due to a severe, ongoing administrative failing on the part of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
4. All water and sewage issues handled by Israel and the PA are done so in cooperation according to the “Water Agreement,” part of the Interim Agreement signed between Israel and the Palestinians in Washington in 1995 (Appendix 3, Clause 40). This is an international agreement which was not only signed by Israel and the Palestinians, but also witnessed by the United States, Russia, the European Union, Norway, Jordan and Egypt.
5. Israel is fulfilling its part under the Water Agreement. Indeed, it is even providing more fresh water than the quantity it is obliged to under the agreement and at a lower price than the real cost defined by the agreement; Israel is supplying to the Palestinians 56 million cubic meters of water a year instead of the 31 MCM/year prescribed in the agreement.
6. In contradiction to Israel, the PA does not fulfill its obligations with regard to a number of aspects of the agreement.
- Among the areas in which the PA is in contravention to the agreement are sewage treatment and its restitution for agriculture. This causes severe pollution of ground and water resources to both sides. Moreover, by refusing to use treated water for field irrigation the Palestinians are giving up on another 30 million cubic meters a year.
- In addition, the Palestinians have violated their part of the agreement by drilling over 300 unauthorized wells, which draw about 15 million cubic meters a year of water, and by failing to develop new water sources.
- To date the PA has not set up water treatment plants as per the agreement. Additionally, out a list of more than 25 sewage projects intended exclusively for Palestinian villages in the West Bank, the PA is building only one project.
- Since 2010 the Palestinians have consistently refused to convene the Joint Water Committee, where water issues are supposed to be coordinated and overseen by the two parties. These professional meetings are necessary for dealing with water scarcity issues on both sides including the mapping of available water resources. In addition, the JWC includes a dispute solving mechanism.
7. In general, Israel supports Palestinian water and sewage projects in the West Bank. Israel fosters cooperation and is ready to assist in resolving any problems in the field of water and sewage.
This is why Israel promotes an ongoing dialogue with the Palestinians on the administrative level, and conducts technical training programs for capacity building in such areas as water treatment and desalination. Unfortunately, this type of constructive cooperation is often undermined for political reasons. For example, in 2010 a hydrological workshop offered by Israel with the aim of improving practices was rejected by the Palestinians.
Furthermore, Israel has already proven its readiness to assist the Palestinians, allowing the import of building materials and equipment for water projects to the Gaza Strip.
8. Sadly, instead of promoting such projects, as well as making the most of Israel’s assistance and willingness to cooperate in the vital field of water, the PA is wasting it resources in false accusations against Israel for political gain.
Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken Israël