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Israel set to remove Palestinian village's sole water pipe in Nablus

Sept. 6, 2017 8:25 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 7, 2017 11:51 A.M.)
(Photo: al-Haq/File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces notified Palestinians living near the village of Duma in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus on Tuesday that their sole water pipeline servicing the area’s residents was slated for removal, as Israeli authorities have said the pipeline is “illegal.”

Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors Israeli settlement activity in the northern West Bank, said that Israeli forces had informed the residents of their intention to remove and destroy the pipeline.

Daghlas said that the pipeline is the sole water source for the area. According to Wafa, 14 Palestinian families live in the area and depend on the water pipeline.

A spokesperson for COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, told Ma’an that the pipe was installed in the area as “part of an attempt to build an illegal residential complex at an archaeological site where construction is prohibited.”

“It should be emphasized that even though a warning was given a year ago to the residents of the area, they tried to renew them illegally,” the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson then went on to highlight the positive contributions to water access Israel’s civil administration has made in the past year, saying that some 19,000 cubic meters of water were added to the occupied West Bank through various projects. She highlighted one such pipeline that supplies 5,000 cubic meters of water per day to Salfit and other Palestinian villages.

However, rights groups have long reported that Israel’s control of water resources in the occupied West Bank has led to routine water shortages in Palestinian communities.

It has often been pointed out that Israel’s restrictions in the Palestinian territory force Palestinians to buy water directly from Israel, while preventing Palestinians from constructing their own wells or other projects to enhance water access.

Most of the Palestinian territory’s land reserves are located in Area C -- the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control -- where any Palestinian development is mostly prohibited by Israel. In addition, other restrictions, such as barring Palestinians from drilling wells deeper than 140 metres, prevents Palestinians from adequately accessing natural water sources.

As a result of these restrictions, many Palestinian villages in Area C and B -- where Israel retains control over security matters -- are forced to buy water from Israel’s national Mekorot water company.

Israelis, including settlers, have access to 300 liters of water per day, according to water rights NGO coalition EWASH, while the West Bank average is around 70 liters, well below the World Health Organization's recommended minimum of 100 liters per day for basic sanitation, hygiene and drinking.

According to Amnesty International, nearly 200,000 Palestinians in the West Bank do not have access to running water.
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