For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Steal it, waste it, but still complain? It's PA crying time again.
David M. Weinberg..
A Citadel Defending Zion..
19 July '12..
It comes back again and again: The canard that Israel is denying West Bank Palestinians water rights negotiated under the Oslo Accords. Just last week Haaretz regurgitated the issue with a story about water supply disruptions in eastern Jerusalem, and another story about confiscation of water tanks in the Jordan Valley. You had to read the fine print to discover that illegal Palestinian tapping into Israel's water lines were the cause of the problem.
For much too long, Israel has failed to respond fully to Palestinian water claims against Israel, which are ubiquitous in the U.N. and NGO world. Only recently has the Civil Administration and the Israeli Water Authority, along with one of Israel's top hydrologists, Professor Haim Gvirtzman of the Institute of Earth Sciences at the Hebrew University, begun to fight back with properly documented counter-claims.
The newly released studies show clearly that Israel has fulfilled all of its obligations according to the agreements it signed in 1995 with the Palestinian Authority (and in fact has exceeded them), while the Palestinians are wasting tremendous amounts of water while refusing to utilize modern water conservation or sewage treatment methods.
In an exceptional study published by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Gvirtzman shows that large differences in per-capita consumption of natural water between Jews and Arabs that existed in 1967, when the administration of Judea and Samaria was handed over from Jordan to Israel, have been reduced over the last 40 years and are now negligible. The Palestinian Authority currently consumes 200 million cubic meters of water every year, with Israel providing more than a quarter of this. This is more than Israel is supposed to provide to a full Palestinian state under a final settlement arrangement.
Nevertheless, the Palestinian Authority claims that it suffers from water shortages in its towns and villages due to the Israeli occupation, and it cites international law in support of its claims. These claims amount to more than 700 million cubic meters of water per year, including rights over the groundwater reservoir of the mountain aquifer, the Gaza Strip coastal aquifer and the Jordan River. These demands amount to more than 50 percent of the total natural water available between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.
Gvirtzman refutes these claims and points to the real problem: The Palestinian Authority employs no sustainable development practices when it comes to water usage. It has done nothing to prevent massive leaking in its domestic pipelines, nothing to implement conservative irrigation techniques, and nothing to recycle sewage water for irrigation.
In fact, Palestinian farmers routinely overwater their crops through old-fashioned, wasteful flooding methods. At least one-third of the water being pumped out of the ground by the Palestinians is wasted through leakage and mismanagement. No recycling of water takes place and no treated water is used for agriculture. (In Israel, almost all agriculture is sustained by treated waste water. In fact, Israel’s use of treated wastewater, its desalination activities and its measures to reduce water losses in the water system add 800 million cubic meters per year to its water supply, amounting to one third of Israel’s total water usage).
At the same time, 95 percent of the 56 million cubic meters of sewage produced by the Palestinians each year is not treated at all. Palestinian sewage flows untreated into the streams and valleys of the West Bank, and into the mountain aquifer, polluting it for Jews and Arabs alike. Only one sewage plant has been built in the West Bank in the last 15 years, despite there being a $500 million international donor fund available for this purpose. Only very recently did the authority agree to accept World Bank funding for a waste-water treatment plant in Hebron.
“The Palestinians generally refuse to build sewage treatment plants,” Gvirtzman says. “The ugly truth behind all the anti-Israel propaganda is that the Palestinian Authority is neither judicious nor neighborly in its water usage and sewage management.”
In order to feed their out-of-control appetite for water, the Palestinians have violated their agreements with Israel by drilling more than 250 unauthorized wells, which draw about 15 million cubic meters of water a year, and by connecting these pirate wells to its electricity grid. Moreover, the authority has illegally and surreptitiously connected itself in many places to the water lines of Israel's Mekorot national water company, stealing Israel's water. That's why the Civil Administration confiscated some Palestinian water tanks in the Jordan Valley.
The Civil Administration points out that the authority has barely begun to tap into the eastern aquifer in the West Bank (which was allocated to Palestinian use by accord with Israel), from which it could produce another 60 million cubic meters per year. The Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee has approved the drilling of 70 water wells by the Palestinian Authority for this purpose, yet more than half the approved wells have not yet been drilled. This would put a grand total of 260 million cubic meters of water per year at the disposal of the authority, for some 2 million West Bank residents, which is 130 cubic meters per person – well above World Health Organization standards.
The Palestinians also have rejected on political grounds a proposal which would have created a water desalination plant in Hadera specifically to meet Palestinian needs. The U.S. had set aside $250 million for the project, which again could have yielded a huge increase in the amount of available water for the Palestinians.
But hey, it's much easier to steal water from Israel and simultaneously complain that Israel is drying out West Bank Palestinians.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"