Violations of the human right to water in Palestine
Palestine is actually very rich in water resources, but Israeli violations of the human right to water and sanitation are preventing Palestinians from having sufficient access to clean water and adequate sanitation, impacting Palestinians’ day-to-day lives as well as long-term prospects for a viable Palestinian state.
Household water consumption of Palestinians connected to a network is less than half the World Health Organization’s minimum recommended daily allowance and 1/6 of Israeli household consumption. Some of the poorest families are paying half of their income on water.
Deep Israeli wells are drying up Palestinian wells and springs, while Israel is using military force to prevent Palestinians from drilling new wells and is even demolishing rainwater-harvesting cisterns. As a result, Palestinians have become dependent upon purchasing water from the Israeli National Water Company Mekorot, resulting in frequent water cuts. In 2010 the Palestinian Authority began implementing prepaid water meters in order to repay large debts to Mekorot.
The siege on Gaza prevents the entry of spare parts, materials and energy needed for the day-to-day functioning of the water and wastewater networks, and furthermore obstructs much needed development of these systems. In the Gaza War of 2008-9, Israel intentionally targeted and destroyed wells, pipes, wastewater facilities, water reservoirs and the main power station.
The UN has repeatedly found Israel to be in violation of the human right to water and sanitation, but Israeli violations are only increasing.
Popular resistance for Palestinian water rights
The way forward is through popular research, popular education, and popular action rooted in the principle of global solidarity.
UN findings offer us a springboard for using popular resistance tactics to generate a global consensus around defying Israel’s illegal restrictions on Palestinian water and sanitation development and holding corporations to account for complicity in these violations.
LifeSource is in active resistance with local communities supporting grassroots committees to direct their own course of learning and action to improve the water situation. Since 2007 these communities have held regular demonstrations against the Wall, organized official meetings demanding accountability from the Palestinian Water Authority, submitted a brief to the UN Human Rights Committee documenting Israeli violations, connected communities to an existing water source using rebel infrastructure tactics, painted a mural depicting their struggle, engaged youth in creative activities to understand their rights, and led local campaigns for the boycott of Israeli bottled water and juice.
Globally, LifeSource participates in educational events, film festivals and conferences geared towards movement building to end Israeli violations of human rights. Standing in solidarity together global citizens are resisting these violations and reclaiming water as a human right.