World Marks Water Day as Palestinian Water Crisis Continues

A joint Korea-Israel symposium was held at the Korea Press Center in Seoul on March 18 in advance of World Water Day which falls on March 22 and this year is called the International Year of Water Cooperation. The event was attended by a number of officials and professionals from both countries. Central to the discussion was how Israel has forged a reputation in water management despite limited water supplies. Both countries plan to conduct joint research in the future on water management. The truth behind how Israel has achieved this lies in Israel’s policy of restricting Palestinian access to its own water resources and using its heralded “advanced technology” to funnel them off to maintain illegal settlements and for Israelis in violation of international law.

Throughout its occupation Israel has held control over a large percentage of Palestinian water resources, allocating large amounts to Israel while controlling and restricting access for Palestinians and sometimes cutting off water sources for Jewish-only use in colonial settlements. For a visual overview of how this basic resource necessary for human survival is controlled, see Al Haq’s interactive map here.

The water resources in the West Bank are almost completely controlled by Israel and siphoned off to major Israeli cities. Water structures built up in the West Bank that are not authorized by Israel are destroyed including many built with funding from international humanitarian agencies (for example, 55 such structures were destroyed in 2011).

Many Palestinians have to purchase drinking water while others survive with access to the bare minimum required for survival by the World Health Organization in a short-term crisis while living directly on top of massive water reserves; those living in the occupied Palestinian territories can access only 10 percent of the water resources while the remaining 90 percent goes to Israelis.

Additionally, colonial settlers in illegal settlements in occupied Palestine use a disproportionately large amount of water including water that is illegally stolen by Israel from the Jordon Valley. Under Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) Israel may not discriminate between different residents within an occupied territory.

Access to clean drinking water is also limited in Gaza where it tends to be highly saline near the coastline. In fact, under the ongoing Israeli military siege on the area between 90-95 percent of the water in Gaza is not fit for human consumption.

What follows are some infographics from Visualizing Palestine that brilliantly depict the crime of the water crisis in both Gaza and the West Bank which are the result of illegal Israeli policies. They have been translated into Korean by PPS activist Yaping and can be viewed on our Korean website.

Water Crisis in Gaza

Water Crisis in West Bank

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