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Israel: illegal outposts contaminating West Bank water supplies

Oct. 1, 2008 1:08 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 1, 2008 1:08 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - A report published Tuesday by the Israeli Environmental Protection Ministry said West Bank water reservoirs are at risk of contamination from wastewater.

In the report, which was also published by the Israeli Civil Administration and the Israeli Nature and Parks Service (NPS), officials asserted that 58 million cubic meters of untreated waste are flowing into Palestinian streams.

The report sampled all the streams in the West Bank, for the first time in the country's history, and tested sewage treatment efficiency nearby, hoping to gauge damage caused to the environment.

The report also suggested that the main cause of the contaminated water is that raw wastewater flows from Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin and other villages, without proper treatment.

The report blames Israeli settlers for pumping contaminated water into the sewars, not Palestinians.

70% of the Jewish communities east of the Green Line are connected to treatment facilities, so "illegal outposts" are the main source of the untreated water, according to the Israeli report.

Regardless, Israeli-Palestinian cooperation on wastewater management is "virtually nonexistent," which the report also cites as a complication. Only Qalqilya, the west part of Bethlehem and about half of Tulkarem are connected to Israeli treatment facilities.
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