The modern blood libel – the water libel: another sordid lie

Israel-bashers do not stand back from serving the dirty lie or two in order to further their case, here miff.no provides documentation from the Sadat-Begin Center that Israel over-complies with its obligations vz water resources. On the other side, the Palestinians routinely breach their agreements. Not sure if this will impress the pathological Israel hater, but for the rest of us it may come in handy to have these facts ready:

Israel complies with its water commitments.

Israel gives the Palestinians more water than what they have committed themselves to do, according to a new study from the  Sadat-Begin Center. The Palestinians accusations against Israel with regards to water resource management are unfounded.

The truth is that Palestinians are wasting water instead of making efforts to ensure more efficient water use. In addition, the Palestinians steal water from Israel by illegal wells and by illegally connecting to Israel’s water network. The study also shows how the current negative water situation can be an opportunity for positive cooperation between the two parties.

Israel is accused of denying the Palestinians water rights and not to provide enough water to Palestinians in the West Bank in accordance with what was negotiated under the Oslo Accords. A new study from the Sadat-Venture Center shows that these accusations are false.
Professor Haim Gvirtzman, an hydrologist at the Institute of Earth Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, examines in a new study, the  Palestinian allegation that Israel fails to abide by their water agreementswater accusations against Israel, and has presented detailed information on the  water supply systems that currently supply the Israelis and Palestinians. In the study from the Sadat-Begin Center, Gvirtzman also discussed international law and exposes the lacking evidence the Palestinians bases its allegations against in Israel.

Israelis and Palestinians are now using equal amounts of water
Gvirtzmans study is based on previously classified data, which was recently made available by Israel’s water authority, 15 years after the interim agreement between Israel and the Palestinians was signed. The findings show that there is almost no difference in per capita consumption of water between Israelis and Palestinians.

What are the charges?
The PA claims that the Palestinians in the West Bank suffer from water shortages due to the Israeli occupation. The PA also claims that the Palestinians have international law on their side. They require water rights from Israel. The requirements of the PA totals over 700 million cubic meters of water per year. They require water rights to groundwater reservoirs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as water from the Jordan River. These requirements are more than 50 percent of ground water that is available between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.

Israel provides more than it needs
The survey shows that Israel has fulfilled all of its water obligations under the agreements that were signed in the 1990s. Israel has actually given more water than what they are committed to. The PA consumes 200 million cubic meters of water. Israel provides about 50 million cubic meters of water annually to the Palestinian territories. This is more than Israel is committed to providing self-government authorities, according to the agreements.
Gvirtzman shows that the major differences between the water that existed in 1967, when the administration of Judea and Samaria went from Jordan to Israel, has been reduced over the past 40 years. Israelis’ development of its water network since 1967 in Judea and Samaria has also benefitted Palestinians in the West Bank. Over 50 wells were built for Palestinian use, and more were planned but not built.Under the interim agreement, Palestinian access to water increased by 20 percent. In fact, the development made it possible to increase access by 50 percent.

Increased availability of water
In 1967, only 4 of 708 Palestinian towns and villages connected to the water network. Before the Palestinian Authority was established in 1995, the number of villages connected to water network increased from 4 to 309. In March 2010, 641 of 708 Palestinian towns and villages were connected to running water. This represents 94 percent of the Palestinian population. At present, another 16 villages are about to get connected to the Water Network. This represents an increase of another 2.5 percent.
When Israel took control of Judea and Samaria in 1967 there was a huge difference in water consumption on the Israeli side versus the West Bank. There is currently no major difference in consumption per person between the areas, the new study from the Sadat-Begin Center shows. The Israeli side has reduced its consumption enormously, while the Palestinians have been able to increase their consumption dramatically. This has reduced the difference between the two population groups, and there is currently no large difference in consumption per person, according to the report.

The PA steals water and digs illegal wells
The Palestinians in turn, have breached the agreements by drilling over 250 unauthorized wells. The wells provide about 15 million cubic meters of water per year. The Palestinians have connected these wells to its network. In addition to this, the PA has on several occasions illegally tapped in to the  water network of the Israeli national water company Mekorot. In other words, the PA is stealing  Israel’s water.

The Palestinians are wasting water
Palestinian farmers using old-fashioned and water consuming agricultural methods. Instead of using new, modern methods,  the Palestinians are still wasting water, over flowing fields for irrigation. Gvirtzman believes that at least a third of the water the Palestinians has pumped illegally is wasted through leaks and poor management. There is no recycling of water or water purification for use in agriculture in the West Bank.

The water goes right down the drain
Sewage treatment has become a common way to get more out of the water resources. Spain, U.S. and Israel are among countries that make most use of this method, for better utilization of the water. From 2010, Israel cleaned and reused  70 percent of its water through water purification and treatment. In Tel Aviv area , 100 percent of the water supply is cleansed and reused the Jerusalem Post writes. The water is safe for consumption, and is often used for irrigation in agriculture and construction of infrastructure.
- The Palestinians refuse to build sewage treatment plants, says Gvirtzman of the Sadat-Begin Center.
- PA is neither prudent nor neighbor-friendly when it comes to water consumption and sewage treatment, he points out.
95 percent of the 56 million cubic meters of sewage Palestinians produces each year isnot cleaned at all. Only a single sewage treatment plant is built in the West Bank over the past 15 years. This despite the fact that there is US$ 500 million available in a fund for just this purpose.

Why the Palestinians’ water demands are not valid
The Oslo Accords are still in force. In other words, undersigned agreements on water resource management exist between Israel and the Palestinians. These agreements suspend all other claims. Israel has fulfilled all its requirements under the Oslo Accords.
- Before they  complain, the Palestinians should sort out their own mess first: They should repair faulty pipe lines, use more efficient irrigation techniques and use treated sewage water for irrigation. Israel has since long employed such technology to combat water shortage.  The fact that the Palestinians do not use any of these methods, nor have implemented more sustainable development practices in its use of water, precludes their demands for more water from Israel, Gvirtzman said.

From disagreement to  potential cooperation
Gvirtzman concludes his report on a positive note. He thinks the water issue can be transformed from conflict to a source of understanding and cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians. He proposes a plan that effectively and quickly resolve current and future water shortages on both sides.The plan outlines measures that will provide enough water for both Palestinians and Israelis until the year 2030, and possibly even longer.