“Mekorot, the main supplier of water to Palestinian towns and cities, siphoned off water supplies to the municipality of Jenin, several Nablus villages and the city of Salfit and its surrounding villages,” Al Jazeera reported.
Daytime temperatures are reaching 95 degrees and some people have not had access to drinking water for 40 days, according to Ayman Rabi, the executive director of the Palestinian Hydrology Group.
“People are relying on purchasing water from water trucks or finding it from alternative sources such as springs and other filling points in their vicinity,” he said, adding that water is already being rationed. “Families are having to live on two, three or 10 litres per capita per day.”
Normally, Israel only allows Palestinians access to “a fraction of the shared water resources in the occupied West Bank,” Saleh Hijazi, Amnesty International’s Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories researcher, told the Independent.
Almost 200,000 Palestinians in the West Bank have no access to running water and must obtain permission before collecting it, despite access to clean water being a human right.
"Israelis, including settlers, consume five times more water than Palestinians in the West Bank, 350 litres per person per day in Israel compared with 60 litres per Palestinian per day in the West Bank," according to Al Jazeera.
The imbalance in water distribution dates back to at least the Oslo accords. In fact, the BBC has said water will be one of the major obstacles to solving the Israel-Palestinian issue.
"Israel allocates to its citizens, including those living in settlements in the West Bank deemed illegal under international law, between three and five times more water than the Palestinians," Martin Asser wrote. "This, Palestinians say, is crippling to their agricultural economy."
An Israeli government spokesperson, speaking anonymously to the Independent, blamed the shortages on the Palestinian government. "Given the failure to develop infrastructures as a result of the unwillingness on behalf of the Palestinians to convene the Joint Water Committee (JWC), there are problems in the water supply," he said.
Author: Justin Salhani