Water-drilling Scheme Attacked

An American firm scheduled to carry out a controversial Israeli water-drilling scheme in the West Bank says it will not undertake the project if it will jeopardize Arab water supplies, the Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

The statement was contained in a letter to Bethlehem Mayor Elias Freij from Gilman Hill, founding trustee of the Mount Moriah Trust, a technological development company based in Denver, Colorado, which specializes in water and oil drilling.

An Israeli subsidiary, the Moriah Technology and Energy Corporation, is to carry out the planned water-drilling project near Herodion, northeast of Bethlehem, using a new deep-drilling technology.

The project is to pump some 18 million cubic meters of water a year, mostly to Jerusalem and Jewish settlements, with up to one-third of the water going to Arab communities, according to sources involved in the scheme.

The Post points out that some water experts and Arab mayors in the Bethlehem area have warned that the project could deplete wells used by Arab communities in the region.

Gilman Hill’s son, Craig, who delivered his fathers 11-page letter, laced with numerous New Testament quotations, to Freij last week, was quoted by the Post as saying: “We will not enter into any project which would use water in an inequitable way, Our purpose in developing water in the West Bank is to see water used justly …”

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