Statement on Gaza
The Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network – Friends of Earth Palestine (PENGON-FoE Palestine), a network of 17 Palestinian environmental organizations, is shocked by the level of hostility and the number of civilian casualties that is caused by Israel’s unrestricted and expanded military assault on the civilian Palestinian People in the occupied Gaza Strip.
Since the start of the Israeli assault on Gaza on 8 July 2014, the Israeli occupation government commits daily massacres against Palestinian civilians in Gaza, killing entire families including children and women. In light of the international community’s devastating failure to exert real pressure on Israel to abide by international humanitarian law, Israel is expanding its military offensive and the Palestinian death toll is mounting. Israelis’’ aircrafts bombarded residential compounds, killing until this morning 586 martyrs, including 157 children and 73 women. In addition to 3510 injuries, including 1086 children and 627 women. The number of completely destroyed houses since the beginning of the attack is 548, and the number of partially destroyed houses is 2929. This increases the number of displaced people in Gaza after targeting their houses or threatening to bombard their neighbourhoods.
It is clear from what is happening in Gaza, that the Bank of goals occupations' government is talking about is nothing but murdering more Palestinian families, targeting civilian houses and killing children who made up half of the victims in the attack. Anyone who sees these hideous crimes against civilians in Gaza, realizes that Israel is nothing but a criminal entity that commits daily crimes against humanity and under cover of the entire world.
Anything in Gaza could be targeted by Israel including hospitals, mosques, water and sewage infrastructure, etc. Israeli aircrafts bombed "Al-Aqsa Martyrs" hospital in Deir al-Balah, the main hospital in the region, which led to the death of five Palestinians and injuring 15 others; the bombing destroyed Internal medicine, surgery and intensive care departments in the hospital, targeting this hospital, brings the number of targeted hospitals and medical clinics since the beginning of the attack to 10. Israeli occupation forces also targeted more than six water and sewerage plants, which provide services to more than 600,000 citizens, and this has caused sewage flooding in some areas; in addition to damaging more than 128 schools, where tens of thousands of students study.
Damages to main water and wastewater infrastructure in Gaza affect the population across the Gaza Strip , around 1.2 million (2/3 of the total population in Gaza), have been cut or severely disrupted. In addition to that, the lack of electricity and fuel exacerbates the situation, disabling wastewater treatment plants, pumping stations at water wells and sewage pumping stations, hampering water provision and sewage collection and treatment.
The lack of access to clean drinking water, shortage of water for sanitation as well as major damages to sewage systems pose risk of water-borne diseases and related health issues. The targeting of civilian objects under situation of hostilities is prohibited according to International Humanitarian Law and is considered a war crime.
PENGON-FoE Palestine calls on people all over the world to take actions and mobilize to stop the crimes in Gaza by:
• Actively participating to clarify the real situation in Gaza and bringing violations of international law to an end.
• Clarifying Israel’s obligations as an Occupying Power engaged in hostilities in Palestine.
• Immediately and unequivocally deploring Israel’s indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks against Palestinian civilians and civilian objects.
• Refrain ing from condoning Israel’s misuse of the notion of self-defense.
• Taking the position that the root cause of the ongoing hostilities is Israel’s belligerent occupation and accompanied violations of international law, including the Palestinian inherent right to self-determination.
• Ensuring that perpetrators of violations of international law are held to account, including through the exercise of universal jurisdiction.
Dear Azienda Comunale Energia e Ambiente (ACEA) board members, Mayor Ignazio Marino and the Assemblea Capitolina,
Occupied Palestine, 29 January 2013
Standing in full support of Italian movements for public water, we, the undersigned Palestinian civil society organisations, write to urge ACEA and its shareholders to heed the appeal issued by the Committee Against the ACEA-Mekorot Agreement and to ensure that the proposed cooperation between Mekorot and ACEA does not take place.
The agreement signed between ACEA and Israeli state water company Mekorot states that it aims to facilitate the exchange of experiences. We urge you to consider that the experience and expertise that Mekorot is able to share with ACEA has been developed as result of the pivotal role that it plays in the appropriation of Palestinian water. Any cooperation with Mekorot strengthens its ability to violate international law and human rights.
As Friends of the Earth International noted in a recent statement , Mekorot is the main Israeli body responsible for orchestrating and sustaining Israel’s control and theft of Palestinian water and the denial of the Palestinian right to water. Mekorot illegally appropriates Palestinian water and imposes severe obstacles to Palestinians accessing their own water. Amnesty International has accused Israel of depriving Palestinians of their access to water “as a means of expulsion”.
In the 1950s, Israel built Israel’s national water carrier, which is diverting the Jordan River from the Palestinian West Bank to serve Israeli communities. Since it took over the Palestinian water system in 1982, Mekorot has been cutting off the water supply to entire Palestinian villages and diverting water to illegal Israeli settlements. Today, Palestinian villages that are supplied by Mekorot face pressure to adopt prepaid water meters, making it even more difficult for them to access water.
Mekorot oversees the wilful wholesale destruction and pillage of Palestinian water infrastructure including the demolition of Palestinian water wells, the digging of wells that are so deep that they make Palestinian wells dry up, and the implementation of extortionate water prices for Palestinian communities. Palestinians in Gaza are forced to purchase water from Mekorot due to Israel’s medieval siege and the over-extraction of the Coastal Aquifer itself conducted by Mekorot.
Mekorot’s participation in the displacement of Palestinians is not limited to the occupied Palestinian territories. In the Naqab desert in the south of Israel, Mekorot denying access to water as a means of reinforcing Israeli policies designed to ensure the forced displacement of Palestinian Bedouins.
Dutch public utility company Vitens recently announced that its commitment to international law had led it to decide to to abstain from signing an international cooperation agreement with Mekorot.
According to a 2004 ruling of the International Court of Justice, state bodies have a legal obligation not to provide recognition or assistance to Israeli violations of international law. The proposed collaboration between ACEA and Mekorot amounts to a violation of that legal obligation. We urge you to follow the principled stand taken by your Dutch counterpart and ensure that ACEA does not contribute to violations of international law and human rights committed by Mekorot.
Youth Empowerment Center (YEC - Gaza)
Arab Center for Agricultural Development
PENGON/Friends of the Earth Palestine
Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem Society (ARIJ)
Maan Development Center
Palestinian Hydrology Group
Land research Center
Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees
Union of Agricultural Work Committees
Arab Agronomists Association
Environmental Media Center
Environmental Education Center