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Water Resource Allocations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Responding to Israeli Claims
Position paper from the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ).
By: Matthew Richard.
This paper attempts to address the injustice of water resource allocation, access and consumption in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). Water is controlled by Israeli authorities who allocate the resource through a series of military orders and practices that discriminate against Palestinians.
This situation fragments Palestinian water rights through construction of the Separation Wall and Israeli settlements along with demolitions of water infrastructure in the West Bank.
The water crisis in the Gaza Strip is also addressed to expose the dire consequences of the ongoing conflict and blockade imposed by Israel. Failures of the Interim Agreement (1995) and the associated Joint Water Committee are also uncovered which reveal how Israel is actively blocking developments for Palestinian water supply and wastewater treatment projects.
This paper further responds to a report published by Haim Gvirtzman (2012) entitled, “The Israeli-Palestinian Water Conflict: an Israeli Perspective”, which claims that Israel has fulfilled all obligations under the Interim Agreement and accuses Palestinians of negligence, ineffective governance, and failure to adopt principles of sustainable management.
However upon analysis of Gvirtzman’s (2012) paper it is realised that he does not acknowledge the interim nature of the agreement or register the asymmetrical power imbalances that exist within the Joint Water Committee. He further denies Israel’s responsibility to uphold norms of international law and principles of human rights.
Gvirtzman’s paper ultimately fails to appreciate the reality of the water situation within the oPt and the hardship imposed on Palestinians by the Israeli occupation. This paper proposes recommendations to the Government of Israel to recognize Palestinian water rights and eradicate illegal policies and practices that deny Palestinians equitable access to water resources.
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Source: Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ), June 2012