Tag Archives: West Bank

Israeli water company cuts supply to West Bank villages

13 Aug


A worker at a water filtration plant operated by Israeli water company Mekorot (file photo)

 Ma’an News Agency report, Ramallah, West Bank. 12 August 2015

Israeli water company Mekorot on Wednesday cut off supplies to areas of the northern West Bank, the Palestinian Water Authority said.

The PA-body said water supplies north of Nablus were disconnected, with PA crews working to reconnect residents.

The PWA has contacted the Israeli company but is yet to receive a response. It is unclear how many people have been affected by the move.

Last week, dozens of Palestinian residents of the West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum staged a sit-in to protest the Israeli national water company cutting off its supply to the village.

Hamzeh Jumaa, the head of the village council, told Ma’an that the Israeli water company Mekorot cut off its supply on Aug. 2.

He said that the water supplies some 4,000 people living in Kafr Qaddum in Qalqiliya, which he highlighted was an agricultural village.

Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said Monday that Mekorot had decided to adjust water supplies in the northern West Bank due to increased consumption, Israeli media reported, leaving residents of the Salfit villages of Qarawat Bani Hassan, Biddya, and Sarta without running water.

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

343340C(MaanImages/Charlie Hoyle)

Cattle die after Israel cuts water to West Bank village

7 Aug
Days of Palestine report, West Bank, 6 August 2015

Tens of cattle owned by Palestinians died after Israeli water firm, Mekerot, cut off water supplies for Palestinian village in Nablus on Sunday.

The cut of water supplies is expected to be pre-planned to cause damage to Palestinians’ cattle as an extreme heat wave is hitting the region.

Head of the council, Hamzeh Jomaa, contacted Mekerot, but has not received any answer from the Israeli company as to why the water was cut off or when it will be reconnected.

In addition to cattle, locals said on Thursday, hundreds of chickens, ducks and other domestic birds died in the village due to the lack of water, which coincided with the abnormal heat wave hitting the region.

Jomaa said that some 4,000 people living in the village Kafr Qaddum in Nablus, which is mainly based on agricultural produce, are suffering from the lack of running and drinking water.

Mekerot, which steals the Palestinian underground water and benefit from Israeli restriction on using their natural resources, provides water to all Palestinian villages, as well as all illegal Israeli Jewish settlements in the surrounding area.

Israelis, including settlers, have access to 300 litres of water per day, while the average of a Palestinian citizen in the occupied West Bank is only around 70 litres.

This below the World Health Organization’s recommended minimum of 100 litres per day for basic sanitation, hygiene and drinking.

(Slightly abridged)

‘Let me be blunt: Gaza is a huge concentration camp’

10 Jul


Amira Hass, Haaretz correspondent for the Occupied Territories, pictured during her speaking tour of New Zealand earlier this year (Photo: Kia Ora Gaza.)

by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, Editor, ISLAMiCommentary 6 July, 2015:

This past Spring Amira Hass, correspondent for Haaretz, spoke at the Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke University. Hass, an Israeli who has won numerous awards for her reporting, has been covering the region since the early 90s. She lived in Gaza for three years and currently lives in Ramallah in the West Bank. Originally from Jerusalem, she was educated at Hebrew University and wrote the well-known book Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land Under Siege as well as the forward and epilogue to the diary of her mother who survived the Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

She gave two public talks during her week-long residency at Duke — “The Israeli Occupation and Jewish-Israeli Dissent” and “Reporting from Ramallah: An Israeli Jew in an Occupied Land” — and also had the chance to meet with students.

Hass said she’s aware of the “contradiction of reporting about the Occupation,” while at the same time “profiting from” that Occupation as an Israeli.

“It’s a constant contradiction in my life. It is a bitter acknowledgment of a privilege and a contradiction,” she said during one of her talks. “It is especially bitter when I talk about Gaza.”

This week (July 8th) marks the one-year anniversary of “Operation Protective Edge” — also referred to as Israel’s invasion of Gaza — a seven-week operation in a long running conflict. According to a bleak new World Bank report, Israeli blockades, war and poor governance have left Gaza’s economy on the “verge of collapse.” It now has the highest unemployment rate in the world — 43 percent, and 60 percent among youth.

Here are some excerpts from Hass’s “Reporting from Ramallah” talk (re-ordered slightly for content continuity), which was audio-recorded in March 2015:

Hass on Freedom of Movement in the Occupied Territories: A Concentration Camp?

When I think of all my friends in Gaza … not only my friends…that haven’t been out of the Gaza Strip for the past 20 years … they are deprived of so many basic things, because Israel deprives them of peace, (the) basic right of freedom of movement.

I’m not talking about food. I’m not talking about even the water situation in Gaza, which is appalling and disastrous. I’m talking about the very basic need of people to travel, to move, to see other places, to have both the ability to plan or the ability to be spontaneous. The Palestinians are deprived of all this.

In practice, Gaza has become a huge, let me be blunt, concentration camp for right now 1, 800,000 people. This is not a novelty. This is not something new. This did not start, unlike what many people think, with the rise of Hamas, Hamas being elected in 2006, or Hamas taking over the security agencies and apparatus in Gaza in 2007 after the short civil war. We can almost trace it to the moment when it started, and this is the 15th of January 1991 — long before Oslo, long before Madrid, and of course long before the suicide attacks inside Israeli cities and against Israeli civilians.

This policy of sealing off Gaza, of making Gazans into prisoners, defacto prisoners, started then. I’ve written extensively about it and yet I know it always surprises.

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Palestine shuts down as storm strikes

8 Jan

305474-1A Gaza street scene during recent flooding (Maan Images)

Ma’an News Agency report, 7 January 2014

Millions of Palestinians bunkered down at home Wednesday as they faced down the first day of huge winter storm that has brought a mixture of rain, hail, and snow accompanied by heavy winds crashing into the Holy Land this week.

Palestinian authorities on Wednesday afternoon announced that all official business would be closed Thursday because of the storm, which has been nicknamed “Huda” in Palestine and Jordan and “Zina” in Lebanon, and urged people to take safety measures in the coming days.

The storm is expected to last until Sunday, bringing snow in higher areas around Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Hebron in the occupied West Bank as well as in northern Israel, while flooding is expected along the coastal plain, including in the Gaza Strip.

Temperatures have dipped far below averages and are expected to hover around or just above freezing in the West Bank both day and night over the next week.

Palestinian authorities on Wednesday praised the role of civil defense units and medical centers until now, as they worked overtime to respond to emergencies and braced for the work to be done in the coming days.

Already in some areas across the region temporary electricity cuts have been reported, but many fear the worst is yet to come.

The worries are especially in the Gaza Strip, where widespread flooding only last month in a much smaller storm in December prompted the United Nations to declare a state of emergency.

Official Palestinian news agency Wafa said that dozens of homes were already flooded by Wednesday afternoon, forcing “hundreds” from their homes.

The agency quoted Gaza municipal authorities as as warning of a coming “humanitarian crisis.”

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Noam Chomsky: Ceasefires in which violations never cease

10 Sep


A Palestinian girl surveys what is left of her home in Shejaiya neighbourhood, Gaza city, following the latest ceasefire.

Noam Chomsky, Middle East Eye, Tuesday 9 September 2014

What’s Next for Israel, Hamas, and Gaza?

On 26 August, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) both accepted a ceasefire agreement after a 50-day Israeli assault on Gaza that left 2,100 Palestinians dead and vast landscapes of destruction behind. The agreement calls for an end to military action by both Israel and Hamas, as well as an easing of the Israeli siege that has strangled Gaza for many years.

This is, however, just the most recent of a series of ceasefire agreements reached after each of Israel’s periodic escalations of its unremitting assault on Gaza.

Throughout this period, the terms of these agreements remain essentially the same. The regular pattern is for Israel, then, to disregard whatever agreement is in place, while Hamas observes it – as Israel has officially recognised – until a sharp increase in Israeli violence elicits a Hamas response, followed by even fiercer brutality. These escalations, which amount to shooting fish in a pond, are called “mowing the lawn” in Israeli parlance.

The most recent was more accurately described as “removing the topsoil” by a senior US military officer, appalled by the practices of the self-described “most moral army in the world.”

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What was Israel up to in West Bank while attacking Gaza?

1 Sep

Ma’an News Agency report, Bethlehem, 30 August 2014
As the eyes of the world focused on Gaza in recent months, Israel stepped up a campaign of repression, detentions, and settlement building across the West Bank, the Palestine Liberation Organization said in a report released on Thursday.

Thirty-two Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in a two month period beginning on June 13, the report said, and 1,397 Palestinians were injured by Israeli fire.

During the same period, 1,753 Palestinians were detained — an equivalent of 24 a day — while Israeli forces conducted 1,573 military raids across the West Bank, or an average of 21 a day.

The PLO report — which was entitled “Business as Usual” — also highlighted that the construction of Jewish-only settlements built on lands confiscated from Palestinian locals in the occupied West Bank had surged during the same period, with three different projects having been announced on Aug. 25-26 just as the Gaza ceasefire was declared.

The report said that over the summer so far, more than 1,472 settlement homes had been approved, slated to house around 6,000 Jewish settlers.

Israeli settlements are generally built on the hills in and around Palestinian towns and villages, and critics charge they are strategically located so as to encircle them and make a contiguous Palestinian state impossible.

The report also said that the period from June 13 to Aug. 26 had also witnessed a total of 249 attacks by Jewish settlers on Palestinian civilians, or around three a day.

“Israeli aggression against the Occupied Gaza Governorates ran in parallel with the Israeli oppression and colonization in the rest of the Occupied State of Palestine,” the report said.

“Though Israeli spokespeople tried to present their attacks on Gaza as a particular action against Palestinian resistance groups, Israeli occupation and colonization policies all over the Occupied State of Palestine make it clear that the ultimate Israeli goal continues to be to prevent the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian State,” the report continued.

The report also highlighted statements by top Israeli officials which use the situation in Gaza as a “justification for not withdrawing from the West Bank.”

This included a July 11 statement by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu where he said: “The Israeli people understand now what I always say: there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the Jordan River,” referring to the West Bank.

The sharp rise in killings, injuries, and detentions across the West Bank coincided with the launch of the largest Israeli offensive on the West Bank since the Second Intifada in response to the disappearance of three Israeli teens in a settlement near Bethlehem.

The offensive — which many analysts deemed a form of collective punishment due to its widespread nature and tactics like the blockading of Hebron’s 800,000 residents — provoked large protests, in which many Palestinians were killed and hundreds injured.

Soon after the offensive concluded, meanwhile, Israel launched a more than 50-day assault on Gaza, which left more than 2,140 Palestinians dead there.

The assault triggered the largest protests across the West Bank since the Second Intifada, with tens of thousands taking to the streets of all major towns and villages.

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