‘International law limits the rights of an occupying power to utilize water resources of an occupied territory, and prohibits an occupying power from discriminating between residents of an occupied territory. However, Israel has illegally annexed water resources from the Occupied Palestinian Territories since 1967. Israel exercises full control over Palestinian water resources, and employs a discriminatory policy of water distribution. Mekorot plays a key role in Israel’s water policies and assists in its violation of international law.
According to European law, EPAL has the power to exclude an economic operator from bidding for a public contract or to reject any such bid where it is found that the individual or organization has committed an act of “grave misconduct” in the course of its business of profession. Directive 2004/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on the coordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts is explicit about this. Like other European companies supporting Israel’s occupation, EPAL and its investors can expect increasing scrutiny and pressure to withdraw from agreements that undermine international law.’
In some rural communities Palestinians survive on barely 20 litres per day, the minimum amount recommended for domestic use in emergency situations.
Some 180,000-200,000 Palestinians living in rural communities have no access to running water and the Israeli army often prevents them from even collecting rainwater.
In contrast, Israeli settlers, who live in the West Bank in violation of international law, have intensive-irrigation farms, lush gardens and swimming pools.
Numbering about 450,000, the settlers use as much or more water than the Palestinian population of some 2.3 million.
The report describes the hardships, both physical and financial, that Palestinians face due to water restrictions — for example, the population has to reuse water for cooking, washing and sanitation, and bathe, wash and flush toilets less frequently.
An estimated 90% of water in the Gaza Strip is undrinkable and unfit for human consumption, director general of the coastal water service Munthir Shublaq said on Wednesday.
Shublaq blamed the December and January Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip for exacerbating the water problem in the Strip. Part of the Israeli war on Gaza involved bulldozing sewage reservoirs and tearing up water networks, he said, which resulted in sewage leaking into ground water and pouring into streets.