The Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip or in the West Bank have been living under military confinement since more than fifty years. The Israelis have imposed all sorts of laws, a quasi-permanent, curfew on the Palestinians, and today the Covid19 is only adding more miseries to their lives.
Palestinians have no access to clean water since the military occupation in 1967. Israel controlled with an iron fist the water resources of the Palestinians. All the water resources on the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea are under the exclusive control of Israel. The residents of West Bank and the Gaza Strip are not supplied with water on a regular basis and according to B’tselem (the Israel’s Information Centre for Human Rights in the occupied territories) “even the water that is supplied is substandard and not potable”. Israel does not respect even the basic of basics of the human rights of Palestinians. The basic right to water and sanitation is a fundamental Human Right enshrined in international conventions of which Israel is a signatory. And of course Israel does not uphold this basic right in all the occupied territories.
Under the agreement (interim of five years as from the date of signature in 1995) Israel should have given 20% of the water resources to the Palestinians. The agreement for West Bank was meant to be valid for only five years. Israel did not care for one second to respect the terms of agreement. Palestinians should have been given permission to carry out drillings in the Eastern basin of the mountain Aquifer but Israel has been and is using all sorts of lame excuses to prevent the Palestinians from doing so. In the meantime, the Palestinian population in the West Bank has more than doubled. So in order to cater for the Palestinians, Palestinian Authority has no other alternative than to buy water from Mekorot (Israel’s water company) which in fact is water which has been extracted from the lands of the Palestinians and to bring the water the Palestinians have to use the water grid which are leaving at an abnormal rate. One third is lost. Israel has systematically refused to give permission or approvals to repair the pipeline infrastructure which is situated in Area C. Area C is under complete Israeli civil and military control (see pray for them – Sunday Times 12th April 2020). And for the 30000 Palestinians whose land is located entirely or in part in Area C they are compelled to buy water at a hefty price privately from tankers all year round.
The Israelis use water as another military tool to dispossess and control Palestinians in the West Bank.
How can the Palestinians of the West Bank prevent themselves of Covid 19 when they don’t have water to wash their hands?
And what about the Gaza Strip since June 2007. Gaza Strip is under Israeli blockade and Israel does not allow into Gaza any material it considered that can be used for civilian and military purposes… The dual purpose theory. Construction materials (cement, sand, iron or other raw materials) which are vital for the reparation of Gaza water and sanitation infrastructure which were heavily damaged (purposely to punish the Palestinians) by the bombs of Israel during hostilities in Gaza in the operation cast leap (which began in late 2008) and operation protective edge in summer 2014. As of the end 2019 Palestinians are still cut off from the public waterwork…
Because of over-pumping and waste water contamination, 96.2 % of the water of Gaza Strip is unsafe to drink.
The World Health Organization recommends a minimum 100-liter average per person. And there is no shortage of water in Palestine but deliberate foul play by Israel.
So how can the Palestinians of Gaza Strip fight back Covid 19?
Gaza Strip has been compared to an open air person. The prison analogy is a bit weak because the United Nations has warned that the Gaza Strip is on the brink of being “unthinkable”.
In the holiest month which is coming in front of you please have a special thought for the Palestinians. We Mauritians we will waste water and the majority of us will make the joy of dustbins because of wasted foods.
Yes… Pray for them…