A Letter in Solidarity with the Alliance on World Water Day

JVP-NYC stands with the Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine:

On March 22, in observance of World Water Day, the Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine will demonstrate in Boston to demand a future where all people have access to clean and abundant drinking water, from the U.S. to Palestine and beyond. We as Jewish Voice for Peace – New York City state our solidarity with the AWJP, and we encourage our allies in Boston to stand with them in person.

The Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine educates the public about how Israeli water policy functions as a tool of occupation, denying agency, dignity, and life to Palestinians. They remind us that water is a necessity—a requirement for life.

On World Water Day, we remember that across the world, colonial governments deny access to water to indigenous and other marginalized communities. We recognize that all struggles for water justice are interconnected.

In the U.S., gas and oil companies poison indigenous communities’ land and water. Our government defends these corporations while attacking and incarcerating indigenous activists on the front lines of the struggle against environmental destruction. Meanwhile, in Palestine, the Israeli government severely restricts Palestinians’ access to water. This restriction contributes to the public health crisis and human rights emergency that the Israeli occupation of Palestine creates.

We stand with those in Palestine and in the U.S. putting their bodies and lives on the line to resist occupation and violence. Today, we stand with those in Boston who put a spotlight on Palestinian resistance against water injustice, and call for an end to Israel’s discriminatory water policy.

The Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine on our World Water Day standout. Photo: Larry Aaronson

The Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine on our World Water Day standout. Photo: Larry Aaronson

An Outrage, Indeed

“This World Water Day we should honor their steadfastness (sumud in Arabic) as we demand water justice for the Palestinian people.”

This article examines why agriculture, which accounted for 13 percept of Palestinian GDP in 1994, accounts for only three percent today:

Farming while Palestinian: a World Water Day outrage

Eyewitness Palestine delegation at the Om Sleiman farm which is surrounded by settlements. Credit Hubert Murray

Eyewitness Palestine delegation at the Om Sleiman farm which is surrounded by settlements. Credit Hubert Murray

New U.N. Report Blasts Israel's Water Policies

UN Report Strongly Condemns Israel’s Discriminatory Water Practices

Michael Lynk is a Canadian lawyer who currently serves as the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories.

His latest Report, dated March 15, 2019, is scathing about Israel’s unjust water policies:

“Water, and its effective control and management, is an essential component for the exercise of sovereignty in the modern world. Yet, as Israel’s 51-year-old occupation has become more entrenched, the deeply inequitable distribution of water imposed by Israel illustrates the utter lack of any substantive control Palestinians over their daily lives. With the collapse of the natural sources of drinking water in Gaza and the inability of Palestinians to access most of their water sources in the West Bank, water has become a potent symbol of the systematic violations of human rights occurring in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. While Israelis, including those living in illegal settlements, enjoy unlimited running water year-round, several million Palestinians endure water shortages caused either by contamination or by lack of access. The irony is manifest: while Israel has created world-class hydro technology for the creation and export of desalination plants, advanced irrigation systems and the recovery and productive recycling of wastewater, the Palestinian territory it occupies is water insecure. Indeed, the World Bank stated in 2009 that the Palestinians in the occupied territory have the lowest access to fresh water resources in the region, notwithstanding the fact that the Palestinian territory has ample water resources.”

After documenting the range of human rights abuses committed by Israel and its obligations under international law, the Report concludes:

“Israel has strayed extremely far from these legal responsibilities. Indeed, its temporary-permanent occupation of the Palestinian territory has been the photo negative of what is required of a faithful occupying power. During its five decades as occupant, it has appropriated private and public property without lawful authority. It has regarded the Palestinian territory as its own for acquisitive purposes and someone else’s territory with respect to the protection of the people under occupation. Its expropriation of Palestinian hydro resources breaches both international humanitarian and human rights law, and scorns the principles that underlie the right to water. Its usurpation of the territory’s natural resources and its disregard for its environment robs the Palestinians of vital assets that it requires should it ever achieve its freedom. The right to development in Palestine has become a dead letter. Can we not do the math to understand that these realities belie any visible path to Palestinian self-determination, and instead lead to a darker future that portends dangers to both peoples?”

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967*