RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israel allocates 70 times more water to each settler than to the average Palestinian in the West Bank, the head of the Palestinian Water Authority said Sunday.
At a press conference in Ramallah, Shaddad Attili said Palestinians received 105 million cubic meters of water, less than the amount allocated in the 1995 Oslo Accords and around a quarter of the 400 million cubic meters needed according to international standards.
Israel controls most of the water resources in the West Bank and refuses to increase the amount of water it allocates to Palestinians, Attili said, forcing Palestinians to buy water from Israel.
Water is a final status issue in negotiations with Israel and postponing the issue to final talks has created a water crisis in Gaza and the West Bank, the official said.
The Palestinian Water Authority has had to buy water and is billions of shekels in debt, Attili said. The Palestinian Authority, in the midst of its own fiscal crisis, has not helped with the debt, he added.
Meanwhile in Gaza, 95 percent of the water is not fit for human consumption, and sea water -- contaminated with sewage -- is leaking into the over-extracted coastal basin, threatening long-term problems of kidney disease. Within two years there may be no drinking water left in Gaza, Attili said.