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Friday, March 20, 2009

Abbas: Israel refuses our water share

Fri, 20 Mar 2009 09:12:57 GMT | PressTV

Mahmoud Abbas accuses Israel of imposing a chronic water shortage on Palestinians, demanding a rightful share of water before any peace deal.

In a message read at the World Water Forum in Istanbul, the acting Palestinian Authority chief criticized Israel's unilateral control over rivers and aquifers and unequal sharing of water resources in contrast to international law.

Abbas said Palestinians had four times less water per capita than Israelis living in the occupied West Bank, a consumption level that fell far below the guidelines by the World Health Organization (WHO) for minimum daily access to water.

"The reason for this disparity has nothing to do with lifestyle between Palestinians and Israelis -- for when it comes to water all human beings have the same needs -- but due to Israel's control and inequitable distribution to the Palestinians," Abbas said.

He complained that 9,000 Israeli settlers in the Jordan Valley "utilize one-quarter of the water that the entire Palestinian population in the West Bank utilizes."

Abbas also condemned Tel Aviv's destruction of Gaza's water infrastructure during its massive strike in the densely populated enclave in December and January, leaving the Gazans with only 10-20 percent of drinkable water.


"Palestinians should not be forced to wait until a peace agreement is reached before (they are) allowed (their) rightful share of the transboundary water resources. Water is an essential human necessity that should not be subject to the dictates of a single party or used as a tool of control," he stressed

Shaddad Attili, head of the Palestinian Water Authority, also said Israel uses 90 percent of transboundary water resources and the Palestinians have to make do with the remaining 10 percent.

Attili put the Israelis' per-capita water consumption at 348 liters (76 gallons) per day and that of the Palestinians' at 78 liters (17.6 gallons) per day, compared to WHO's recommended minimum of 100 liters (22 gallons) a day.

The seven-day World Water Forum in Istanbul was participated by more than 27,000 policymakers, corporate executives, water specialists and activists and will close on Sunday.

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