Great danger threatens the water sources in the West Bank

Great danger threatens the water sources in the West Bank by waste water flow from Israeli settlements

The Palestinian Environment Quality Authority Protection, along with the Israeli Authority for the Protection of Nature and National Parks and the Israeli Civil Administration are monitoring pollution in the West Bank.

Their studies indicate that the main source of contamination of the water supply is wastewater flowing into Palestinian population centers.

The Israeli governmental agencies did not openly state that the wastewater is coming from Israeli settlements, but the fact has already been documented by several other sources, including by the naked eye that can see sewage flowing out of some settlements and into neighboring Palestinian towns and agricultural lands. The environmental threat caused by Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is as brutal as the physical threat caused by the settlers themselves to the land and population.

Untreated waste water is pumped into Palestinian agricultural areas and Wadis (vallies) without any commitment to environmental standards. About half a million settlers in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, produce some 54 million cubic meters of waste water annually.

The 2.3 million Palestinians in the West Bank East Jerusalem (WBEJ) produce 52 million cubic meters of waste water annually. This means that an Israeli settler consumes five times more water the Palestinian citizen.

The Israeli government collects taxes from Palestinians but uses the income in the interests of the occupation authorities and settlers.

The facts indicate that Israeli management of the water and sanitation sector is violation of norms and agreements even during the various stages of the peace process when agreements have been made through peace treaties for environmental protection.

The Israeli Ariel Settlement, built on land of the northern West Bank’s Salfit District, is dumping its waste water into the neighboring valley. This pollutes many springs in the area, and the shallow water Aqiifer.

Also in the northern West Bank towns near the Green Line ((That separates Israel and the West Bank)), a waste water treatment facility was planned to be built, but due to obstacles placed by Israeli the project was prevented from going through.

The Israelis needed to give consent because the building site was in Area C. They refused and said that they would agree only if it was to be a joint treatment facility for Israeli settlement and Palestinian cities wastewater. The Palestinians refused this as it was an attempt to legitimize illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

The case of Bethlehem and Jerusalem was similar in regard to Israeli wastewater flowing into Wadi Nar” the Valley of Fire”. Settlements built in East Jerusalem such as Ma’ale Adumim are flowing strait into Palestinian land.

The occupation authorities rejected plans for a Palestinian wastewater treatment facility in Tulkarem, and insisted it has been built on the (Israeli) side of the Green Line in order to take the treated water for their agriculture and a discounted price.

It should be noted that the Israeli government has frozen 150 projects in the area intended to improve basic infrastructure and services, particularly water and sanitation services for the Palestinian population under the guise of security concerns.

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