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B’Tselem: Israel withholding water

Israel’s national water company denied a report that Israel is responsible for a serious water shortage in the West Bank.

The human rights organization B’Tselem released a report Tuesday saying that the water shortage in the West Bank is due to unfair distribution of water resources shared by the Palestinians and Israel, and exacerbated by this summer’s extreme drought.

The Merkorot water company provides 30 percent more to the Palestinians than required under the Oslo agreement, according to the Jerusalem Post, and has increased its supply to the Palestinians despite water cutbacks in Israel.

The company also told the Post that Palestinian water thieves steal up to 50 percent of the water supplied in some areas.

Israel also is facing a serious water shortage, with the country’s three main water sources having reached their red lines.

The report, citing World Health Organization statistics, said that average per capita water consumption in the West Bank is two-thirds of the minimal amount needed and is likely lower for personal use since the figure includes livestock.

A total of 227,500 Palestinians living in 220 towns and villages in the West Bank are not connected to a water network, according to the report. Another 190,000 Palestinians live in villages that are only partially connected to a network.

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