PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release
January 31, 2011
Dr. Shaddad Attili
Minister of the Palestinian Water Authority
Minister of the PWA condemns Israel’s ongoing destruction of water cisterns in the occupied Palestinian territory
Minister of the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA), Dr Shaddad Attili, today condemned Israel’s ongoing destruction of Palestinian water cisterns, saying that many cisterns were vital to the very survival of Palestinian communities with little access to water. Israel has recently intensified its campaign of targeting Palestinian water cisterns for destruction Dr. Shaddad said. His comments coincided with the 10th Anniversary today of the 2001 Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee “Joint Declaration for Keeping the Water Infrastructure out of the Cycle of Violence.”
“The Government of Israel uses water to target some of the most vulnerable and marginalized Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank. This includes Israel’s destruction of household and community water cisterns used by Palestinians to capture rainwater runoff. Some of these cisterns are centuries old, and many are vital to the survival of Palestinian communities who have little access to water,” said Dr Shaddad Attili.
“In addition to preventing the rehabilitation of Palestinian water cisterns, particularly in Area C, the Government of Israel has recently intensified its campaign of destroying these same cisterns. The rehabilitation of water cisterns does not require prior approval from the Joint Water Committee (JWC), nor does it require a construction permit from the Israeli Civil Administration.
“The destruction of Palestinian water-related infrastructure is in clear violation of the 2001 Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee “Joint Declaration for Keeping the Water Infrastructure out of the Cycle of Violence.” Today marks the 10thanniversary of the Joint Declaration, which was signed by both parties at the Erez Crossing on January 31, 2001. The declaration is intended to protect water infrastructure, and therefore to protect the welfare and rights of innocent civilians who inevitably pay the highest price for its destruction.
“The Palestinian Water Authority condemns in the strongest possible terms Israel’s destruction of Palestinian water cisterns, and calls on the international community to take immediate and effective action to ensure that international law and the human right to water for Palestinians are respected. Such destruction is not only without justification; it is morally reprehensible. Few examples highlight more forcefully the suffering and injustice Palestinians face under occupation.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians living in Area C are not connected to a water network due to severe restrictions imposed by the Government of Israel on the development of water-infrastructure. For most, water cisterns serve as the only available source of water alongside tankered water, which remains prohibitively expensive. The most marginalized communities are reliant on this water for their livelihoods, since it is primarily used for livestock and agriculture.
A copy of the “Joint Declaration for Keeping the Water Infrastructure out of the Cycle of Violence” can be found at the following link:
For further information contact:
- Palestinians Denied Access to Water
- The Stink of Control
- Why a Water Crisis Exists in Gaza
- Israel Denies Gazans Access to Their Own Land and Waters
- Israeli Border Police Demolish Cistern in Al Beqa’a Valley(video)
- Stopping the Water