Israel: Amnesty charges don’t hold water


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel has refuted accusations in an Amnesty International report claiming that the Palestinians do not have access to an adequate supply of water.

The Israel-Palestinian water policy is based on an interim agreement between the two parties, Israel said.

"Israel has fulfilled all its obligations under the water agreement regarding the supply of additional quantities of water to the Palestinians, and has even extensively surpassed the obligatory quantity," according to a statement issued Tuesday by the Foreign Ministry. "The Palestinians, on the other hand, have significantly violated their commitments under the water agreement, specifically regarding important issues such as illegal drilling and handling of sewage."

The Amnesty report released Monday accuses Israel of denying the Palestinians the right to access adequate water by maintaining total control over the shared water resources and pursuing discriminatory policies.

The report claims that Palestinian daily water consumption is about 70 liters a day, compared to 300 liters per day for Israelis — a figure disputed by Israel. It also says that  180,000 to 200,000 Palestinians living in rural communities have no access to running water, and that the Israeli army often prevents them from collecting rainwater. 

Israel in the report is taken to task for restricting supplies going into the Gaza Strip that could help with the building of water and sanitation projects.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry questioned the motivation of the human rights organization in releasing the report.

"The authors of the report chose to ignore Israeli data, papers and reports, although they contain verifiable facts presented with total transparency," the ministry said. "This questionable approach, which consists of systematically disregarding Israeli material while relying exclusively on Palestinian allegations, raises doubts as to the real intentions of the report’s authors and of the organization itself."

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