I’ve posted on this before:
But now it looking like a continuation of the crisis as BT Selem, the UN and the Palestinian News Network are drawing attention to this contentious subject. Israel has a not-so-secret history of diverting water from Palestinian sources to it’s own people, supplying per capita 4x more water to Israelis than to Palestinians! Now there is trouble with the environmental effects of this policy on Lake Tiberias:
Israeli water experts have declared the current situation to be “the most serious since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.” Water levels in Lake Tiberias are expected to fall below the “red line” next week. Most alarmingly, a further drop below the “black line” is predicted for this October. Once the level falls below the black line, it will no longer be possible to operate the pumps in Lake Tiberias.
The current water crisis will have serious implications for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. Since the Nakba of 1948, Israeli authorities have controlled the key water sources in the region. With Israeli forces occupying the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967, the Israeli grip on Palestinian water has further tightened.
Today Israelis consume more than 80 percent of the ground water in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Palestinians are denied use of the Jordan River. On an annual per capita basis, Israelis consume over four times as much water as Palestinians.
While Palestinians are denied access to their own water supplies, unsustainable levels of Israeli consumption now threaten the long-term availability of water in the region. Recent research has highlighted the environmental degradation at Lake Tiberias. Increased salinity and the formation of toxic pools have already seriously decreased the water quality in the lake. This situation has been worsened by wasteful use of the water, such as swimming pools in settlements, as well as an evaporation rate of one centimetre per year.
And you know it will be the Palestinians who pay the heaviest price for this. BT Selem’s report is summarized as follows:
Special report: Palestine-Israel Relations
JERUSALEM, July 1 (Xinhua) — A grave water shortage is hitting a vast part of the West Bank this summer, largely due to Israel’s “discriminatory” water policy and continuous drought, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said Tuesday.
Quoting figures of the Palestinian Water Authority, the group said that 40 million to 70 million cubic meters are lacking to meet the needs of West Bank Palestinians, adding that the per capita consumption of water in the West Bank now stands at 66 liters a day, about two-thirds of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended minimum amount.
In parts of the northern West Bank, water consumption is only one-third of the WHO minimum, B’Tselem said in a statement, noting that the per capita water consumption of Israelis is 3.5 times that of Palestinians.
“The chronic water shortage results in large part from Israel’s discriminatory policy in distributing the joint water resources in the West Bank, and the limits it places on the Palestinian (National) Authority’s ability to drill new wells,” said the statement.
The accumulated effects of recent dry years will make the shortage even worse this summer, the group added.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank are not connected to a water network, and have to buy more expensive water from tankers, while even those who are connected do not enjoy a constant supply of water, which local residents said is due to the supply reduction by the Israel water company in order to meet the increased need of the Jewish settlements, according to the statement.
Meanwhile, many poor families draw water from unsupervised wells, leading to an increase in infectious diseases in many rural areas in the summertime, said the group, warning that “the shortage will have serious repercussions on the economy and the health of tens of thousands of Palestinians.”
Stressing that access to water without discrimination is recognized by international law as a fundamental human right, B’Tselem called on the Israeli government “to ensure immediate, regular, adequate supply of water to every resident of the West Bank without discrimination, and to allow the Palestinian Authority to develop new water sources.”
Of course this is not to out of character with the entire rest of the human rights report when it comes to Israeli abuses against the nation it occupies. In fact, Israel denied the UN group access to Palestinian lands recently:
Here is the summary of the UN groups report which will go before the General Assembly: