18 January 2012
The French government has accused Israel of using water (or lack of it) as a weapon against Palestine.
Socialist Party MP Jean Glavany stated: “450,000 Israeli settlers on the West Bank use more water than the 2.3 million Palestinians that live there.”
As well as a prolonged and tragic conflict over land, these warring Middle Eastern states are now in a battle over water, which is a precious commodity in the desert.
It seems that the fight is now aimed at hitting the Palestinians where it hurts the most, if French reports of a systematic destruction of Palestinian water purification systems and wells are to be believed.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz says that the French have accused them of blocking “Many water purification facilities planned by the Palestinian Water Ministry.”
The other side of the story is portrayed in a recently released report by Haim Gvirtzman: ‘The Israeli-Palestinian Water Conflict: An Israeli Perspective.’
In contrast Gvirtzman says that in fact Israel has actually doubled the supply of water to Israel over the last couple of decades and refutes any claims of attempts to impede the Palestinian water
purification facilities. Instead he blames Palestine for not managing their water treatment properly with laxity in every aspect including the sewage treatments.
Although the issue remains contentious there is in fact a Joint Water Commission which is supposed to oversee any water disputes between the two states. The will need to do something far reaching as the water supply along the Gaza strip is an extremely pressing concern.