Published: 2023-08-18 11:00
Last Updated: 2023-12-02 17:24
In the arid villages of the occupied West Bank, where Israeli Occupation water infrastructure does not reach, date palms languish, and greenhouses stand empty.
Palestinians are contending with a severe lack of water, affecting their ability to tend to livestock, cultivate fruit trees, and meet daily needs like bathing and laundry.
Adjacent Israeli Occupation settlements present a stark contrast, resembling oases with flourishing wildflowers, thriving fish farms, and lively community pools.
This stark divide in water availability highlights a broader contest for control over the West Bank, particularly the Jordan Valley.
Palestinians view this region as the potential breadbasket of their future state, while the Israeli Occupation considers it crucial for safeguarding their eastern border.
The struggle for water access amplifies the ongoing tug-of-war for the West Bank.
Palestinians have seen their water resources dwindle since the 1990s, when interim peace agreements granted Israeli Occupation control over 80 percent of the West Bank's water reserves, along with significant authority over Palestinian life.
While Palestinians in cities are dependent on shared reservoirs and Israeli Occupation water sources, those residing in the remaining 60 percent of the West Bank, including parts of the Jordan Valley, are isolated from both Israeli Occupation and Palestinian water networks.
Originally meant to last five years, these interim agreements persist to this day.
Eyal Hareuveni, who authored a recent report on the water crisis for Israeli Occupation "human rights group B'Tselem", highlights that the amount of water supplied by the Israeli Occupation has not adapted to Palestinian needs.
He noted that the infrastructure disproportionately benefits Israeli Occupation settlements.
Around half a million Israeli Occupation settlers connected to the Israeli Occupation water grid enjoy consistent access, while Palestinian cities often receive water sporadically, particularly during hot summers.
As droughts increase, temperatures rise, and Israeli Occupation policies tighten control over the region, Palestinians' water struggles escalate.
Palestinian Water Minister Mazen Ghunaim asserts that Israeli Occupation's national water company has cut water supplies to cities like Bethlehem and Hebron by 25 percent for the past nine weeks.
In Hebron, taps have even run dry for weeks at a time during the summer months.