Stop Mekorot Initiative Wins over Anti-BDS Bill

The Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine raised awareness about human rights violations perpetrated by the national Israeli water company, Mekorot, by hand delivering an open letter to the Israeli Consul in Boston.  Mekorot has been internationally denounced for implementing since its decades ‘water apartheid’ that is essential for Israeli efforts to colonize Palestinian lands and ethnically cleanse it from Palestinian communities. The company was once again in the news recently for shutting off water in many towns throughout Palestine this summer during Ramadan.  In the summer temperatures can easily exceed 35 degrees Celsius and cutting water supplies to Palestinian communities is a key component of Israel’s policies to drive people from their lands and communities by making live unbearable and destroying their means of livelihood.  The open letter led the group to lobby against an amendment on a bill that would penalize companies taking part in the BDS movement.  The group’s initiative to raise awareness against Mekorot successfully led to the anti-BDS amendment to be withdrawn from the bill.  More boycott activities is essential for building strength against current efforts in North America and Europe to outlaw BDS.

boston waterThe national Israeli water company, Mekorot, systematically deprives Palestinians of access to water through policies that include the international crime of pillage of natural resources in occupied territory and discrimination against the Palestinian people as an ethnic group and lend vital support for the illegal settlement enterprise  During Ramadan this past June Mekorot  shutting off water to numerous cities and villages in Palestine, including Jenin, Nablus, and Salfit.  Some people were forced to spend weeks without any access to water with temperatures easily exceeding 35 degrees Celsius. This has spurred renewed campaigning against Mekorot.  The awareness raising actions of the Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine, based in Boston, Massachusetts,  in July 2016 are a great example of this.

The Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine was founded in 2014 to counter the then-governor Deval Patrick’s Water Technology Initiative with Israel.  Since its founding the organization has worked to publicize Israel’s discriminatory water policies and their use of water as a weapon against Palestinians.  To learn more about the Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine visit their website here.

As part of their demonstrations against Israel’s water policies the group hand delivered an open letter to the Israeli Consul in Boston.  The letter, which was widely distributed, aimed to raise awareness of Mekorot’s water apartheid and its actions during Ramadan.  The letter outlined how Mekorot drastically reduced Palestinians’ access to water and cut off water to a number of cities and villages.  The group holds Israel responsible for these actions because under international humanitarian law as an occupying power Israel must ensure the dignity and well-being of the population living under its control – this includes access to water.

Illegal settlements in the West Bank enjoy uninterrupted access to water while Palestinians are forced to pay large sums of money for a fraction of the water the settlers use.  Palestinians only have access to seventy-three liters per capita per day of water, which is below the 100 liter standard set by the World Health Organization and well below the Israeli consumption of 240 to 300 liters of water per capita per day.  A typical residential building in Palestine will have four to eight water tanks on the roof.  If the water supply is depleted before the tanks are scheduled to be refilled the residents must resort to paying water trucks to replenish their water source.  The average cost of refilling ones tank privately is anywhere from 75 to 150 NIS ($19 to $40).  With an average monthly salary of only $600 in Palestine resorting to providing ones home with privatized water is too expensive for most families.  It is precisely these realities the Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine is working to publicize.

The moment of victory  came when the Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine visited the State House in Boston to distribute their letter and discuss the grave situation in Palestine with each legislator.  Upon arrival at the State House they were informed the legislators would be voting on a bill that very afternoon which included an anti-Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) amendment.  Local Zionist organizations had been lobbying the legislators to pass anti-BDS legislation to penalize businesses who engaged in nonviolent economic boycotts.  After pressure from the Palestinian rights advocates Senator Cynthia Creem, who originally introduced the anti-BDS legislation, withdrew the amendment.

This is not the first time the BDS movement has come under fire in the United States.  The BDS movement was founded eleven years ago by Palestinian over 175 Palestinian organizations representing Palestinians in their homeland and in the diaspora, as a  way to put economic pressure on Israel to end its apartheid, colonialism and occupation. Among others, the United States is one of the main supporters of Israel and supplies them with over $3 billion annually in the form of military aid.

Movimento contra a cooperação com a Mekorot cresce na Bahia

Organizações, movimentos e representantes parlamentares da Palestina e da Bahia estão pedindo a ruptura do acordo de cooperação técnica que as empresas públicas baianas de água, Embasa e CERB, assinaram em 2013 com a empresa estatal israelense da água Mekorot.

Denunciada em várias ocasiões pela ONU, a Mekorot é responsável por implementar o “apartheid da água” sobre o povo palestino, segregando o acesso à água por critério étno-racial. Os crimes da Mekorot incluem a pilhagem dos recursos naturais em território ocupado e a participação na limpeza étnica do povo palestino. Palestinos na Cisjordânia têm acesso, em média, a 60 litros água por dia enquanto colônos israelenses usam uma média de 700 litros por dia. Muitas comunidades palestinas que Israel quer expulsar de suas terras não têm acesso a água e, às vezes, Israel chega a sequestrar camiões-pipa palestinos. Além disso, a Mekorot é responsável por projetos de “gerenciamento” da água com efeitos ambientais devastadores, incluindo a lenta destruição de um patrimônio mundial como o Mar Morto.

Jamal Juma’ coordenador da Coligação Palestina da Defesa da Terra diz:

“É hora de cortar os laços com essa empresa violadora dos direitos humanos e substituí-los por laços de solidariedade entre o povo palestino e o povo brasileiro. Buenos Aires, Lisboa, Holanda e São Paulo já mostraram o caminho rompendo contratos com a Mekorot e confiamos que com o apoio da sociedade civil e de representantes políticos que prezam pelos direitos humanos podemos derrumbar também esse contrato na Bahia.”

A Campanha Palestina contra o Muro de Apartheid e a Coligação Palestina da Defesa da Terra, juntamente com movimentos brasileiros, o Movimento dos Pequenos Agricultores (MPA), o Movimento dos Atingidos pelas Barragens (MAB), o Levante Popular da Juventude, a Comissão Pastoral da Terra e o Instituto Regional da Pequena Agropecuária Apropriada (IRPAA), encaminharam nessa semana uma carta aberta às empresas de água baianas pedindo o cancelamento da cooperação com a Mekorot.

Os movimentos declaram na carta:

“Recusamos o uso dessas tecnologias desenvolvidas durante décadas de limpeza étnica e de genocídio contra o povo palestino. Insistimos que o Brasil tem o saber e as tecnologias suficientes para encontrar soluções para as questões de saneamento e de acesso à agua. Basta implementar as políticas públicas necessárias.

O texto ressalta:

“Enquanto a Mekorot e Israel estão difundindo no Brasil e globalmente a propaganda que estão ajudando o povo baiano, na verdade, contratos entre empresas israelenses e as empresas da água e do saneamento do estado da Bahia contribuem somente para processos de privatização da nossa água.”

A carta vem depois que um requerimento de informação foi protocolado pelo deputado estadual Marcellino Galo (PT-BA), membro da Comissão de Meio Ambiente, Seca e Recursos Hídricos, da Frente Parlamentar Ambientalista da Bahia e da Comissão de Saúde e Saneamento. O requerimento relembra a posição oficial do governo brasileiro de rechaço a qualquer forma de legitimação da ocupação ilegal do território palestino e em a defesa da criação do Estado Palestino. O requerimento conclui que:

“em respeito às resoluções da ONU, aos princípios da autodeterminação dos povos, da dignidade da pessoa humana e do direito à terra, requeremos informações com relação a estes convênios, bem como, caso sejam confirmados, recomendamos o fim de qualquer relação com a empresa Mekorot, conglomerado com destacado papel na violação dos direitos do povo palestino.”

Com o slogan ‘Da Bahia a Palestina, temos sede de justiça”, a luta contra a cooperação da Embasa e da CERB com empresas israelenses vai ser levantada também ao I Grito da Água em Feira de Santana (21 Março, 8h) e o XVI Grito de Água em Salvador (22 de Março, 14h), organizado pelo Sindicato dos Trabalhadores em Água, Esgoto e Meio Ambiente no Estado da Bahia (Sindae) em conjunto com organizações parceiras. A marcha do Grito da Água, organizada anualmenteem oacasão do Dia Internacional da Água (Março 22), é a maior manifestação pelo direito à Água na America Latina.

Os esforços dos movimentos palestinos e baianos contra os laços com a Mekorot e empresas israelenses fortalece o Movimento de Boicote, Desinvestimento e Sanções (BDS) a Israel. Esse movimento popular e global tem conseguido pressionar governos, bancos e grandes multinacionais a cortarem ou reduzirem seus negócios com Israel e empresas e instituições conectadas às violações do direito internacional cometidas contra o povo palestino.

O movimento BDS começou em 2005, quando a sociedade civil palestina lançou um apelo conjunto aos povos e governos do mundo por Boicote, Desinvestimento e Sanções (BDS) a Israel e entidades cúmplices de suas vioalações do direito internacional. O objetivo é cortar o financiamento às politicas de ocupação, apartheid e colonialismo israelenses e romper vínculos que legitimam ou financiam essas práticas.

Notas:
[1] Mais informações sobre a Mekorot: www.stopmekorot.org
[2] Texto integral da Carta Aberta dos movimentos contra a Mekorot

Março 16 2016

Carta aberta a Embasa e CERB:

Em Defesa da Justiça da Água na Palestina e na Bahia

As organizações abaixo se solidarizam com o pedido que nos chega da Palestina, denunciando as relações entre as instituições do Estado de Bahia e a empresa estatal israelense da água, Mekorot. Em 2013, a Embasa, a CERB e o governo baiano assinaram um acordo de cooperação técnica. No final de 2015, a Secretária da Infraestrutura Hídrica e Saneamento da Bahia, participou numa nova viagem a Israel, organizada pelo consulado israelense. Essas relações são usadas amplamente como propaganda por parte de Israel a nível local, nacional e global.

O povo palestino está sofrendo e resistindo à agressão israelense desde a criação do estado de Israel, que resultou na expulsão de 75% do povo palestino das terras que passaram a ser controladas por Israel, eventos conhecidos como ‘Nakba’ (‘catástrofe’ em árabe). Hoje, Israel continua as suas políticas de limpeza étnica, segregação e discriminação racial, e ocupa e coloniza cada dia mais terras palestinas. As colónias ilegais em território palestino, o Muro de Apartheid – com 9m de altura e 700 km de extensão – e o roubo da água palestina, são ferramentas fundamentais que confinam o povo palestino a uma área de não mais de 13% do seu território histórico.

A Mekorot construiu e gere a totalidade da rede nacional de água israelense implementando o “apartheid da água” sobre os palestinos, depredando os recursos naturais palestinos e criando as condições vitais para o processo ilegal de colonização. O consumo palestino nos territórios ocupados é de cerca de 70 litros diários por pessoa enquanto que o consumo diário per capita israelense é de cerca de 300 litros.

Na década de 1950 a Mekorot desviou e quase secou o rio Jordão para servir as comunidades israelenses. Com a ocupação da Cisjordânia, Gaza e Colinas de Golã em 1967, a empresa monopolizou o controle sobre as fontes de água nesses territórios em benefício dos assentamentos israelenses ilegais e segue negando o acesso à agua às comunidades palestinas como ferramenta de limpeza étnica.

Estas ‘experiências’ são exportadas por empresas, como a Mekorot, para financiar a economia israelense baseada na guerra e na colonização.

Para cortar essas fontes de financiamentos internacionais e de legitimação da política israelense, as organizações políticas e sociais palestinas, desde 2005, lançam um apelo ao mundo para boicotar, desinvestir e impor sanções contra Israel. Esse movimento conseguiu derrubar contratos da Mekorot em Buenos Aires, Lisboa, Holanda e São Paulo. Está na hora de cortar as relações da Bahia com essa empresa!

Assim, pedimos à Embasa, Cerb e Secretária da Infraestrutura Hídrica e Saneamento que terminem imediatamente com as suas relações com a Mekorot. Recusamos o uso dessas tecnologias desenvolvidas durante décadas de limpeza étnica contra o povo palestino. Insistimos que o Brasil tem o saber e as tecnologias suficientes para encontrar soluções para as questões de saneamento e de acesso à agua. Basta implementar as políticas públicas necessárias.

Enquanto a Mekorot e Israel propagandeiam no Brasil e no mundo que estão ajudando o povo baiano, os contratos entre empresas israelenses e as empresas da água e do saneamento do estado da Bahia contribuem, na verdade, somente para os processos de privatização da nossa água.

Estamos juntos pelo direito à agua, para todos e todas, na Bahia, no Brasil e na Palestina.

Assinam:

Desde Palestina:

Campanha Palestina Popular contra o Muro de Apartheid (Stop the Wall)
Coligação de Defesa da Terra

Desde Bahia:

Movimento dos Pequenos Agricultores (MPA)
Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens (MAB)
Levante Popular da Juventude
Comissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT)
Instituto Regional da Pequena Agropecuária Apropriada (IRPAA)

Palestine activists make unscheduled splash at Israel’s Paris water party

Activists from the group BDS France crashed a water summit yesterday and urged dozens of stunned delegates not to cooperate with the Israeli water company Mekorot that pillages water sources in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The activists burst into the convention hall at the luxury Marriott Rive Gauche hotel in Paris, where delegates at the Global Water Summit 2014 were having breakfast.

An activist carrying a Palestinian flag called out “we are here to protest in a democratic way” as officials tried to block him and hustle him away, but later, as the above video shows, the activists were allowed to address the delegates directly.

Another activist can be seen calling out “You can choose whether to do business with criminals or not. That’s your responsibility, think about it.”

“Shame on you, people are dying there,” another protestor says.

“Water meets money”

The summit is a gathering of firms involved in water privatization around the world. Among its corporate sponsors are Israeli-occupation profiteer Veolia.

Saudi Arabia’s National Water Company is listed as an “exhibitor.”

According to the conference website, at least one other Israeli firm, IDE Technologies Ltd., was present in addition to Mekorot.

The conference website’s url is the rather shameless watermeetsmoney.com.

Allowed to speak

Following negotiations with hotel officials, the activists, holding a large Palestinian flag, were allowed to address the delegates.

Speaking in English, one of the activists told the conference participants:

We’re here to denounce the situation of colonization you are all aware of, that’s taking place in Palestine for more than 60 years now – the oldest situation of colonization in the whole world. For several decades now Israel has been abusing the rights of the Palestinian people, including the water supplies that are now lacking drastically especially in the Gaza Strip.

Here with us, at this global water conference, there is an Israeli company that’s taking part in this abuse of human rights, pumping the waters of the Palestinian people. Do you want to be the accomplices of an international violation of the law that the UN has condemned? Mekorot, this Israeli company is with you today. They are the bad guys in this whole conference. Why would you let them talk? Why would you let them make deals with you?

After the speech, the activists were forcibly removed from the hotel despite an effort to stay.

According to text in the video, hotel managers “called the police and some of the activists were checked by police but were allowed to leave.”

“BDS activists underline that they will be present at all events that legitimize French and Israeli companies that participate in and profit from Israeli apartheid,” the text states.

Stop Mekorot

BDS France says on its website that the action was taken as part of the Stop Mekorot campaign called for by the Palestinian BDS National Committee.

Mekorot diverts stolen Palestinian water in large part for Israeli settlements.

Mekorot’s pillage of Palestinian water has been condemned by an independent report for the UN Human Rights Council.

As protests were going on inside the Paris hotel, activists holding signs denouncing Israeli apartheid, colonization and land theft rallied outside, as this video shows.

BDS The Global Water Summit 2014 Boycott Mekorot – Paris le 8 avril 2014

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Published in: http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/palestine-activists-make-unscheduled-splash-israels-paris-water-party

Water Apartheid in Palestine

 La Autoridad Palestina del Agua se ve forzada a comprar a la Compañía israelí de Aguas la mitad del agua para uso doméstico Los quinientos mil colonos israelíes que habitan en Cisjordania usan seis veces más agua que los 2, 6 millones de palestinos que viven ahí El consumo de agua de los palestinos en Cisjordania es de entre 20 y 73 litros por persona al día, por debajo de los 100 litros recomendados por la Organización Mundial de la Salud

Isabel Pérez – Gaza Follow @itxaP

01/04/2014 – 20:40h
Palestinos del valle del Jordán sin red de saneamiento ni agua corriente/ Fotografía: Atef Abu a-Rub/ B'tselem.

Palestinos del valle del Jordán sin red de saneamiento ni agua corriente/ Fotografía: Atef Abu a-Rub/ B’tselem.

Ahmed Mawahra cultiva verduras y dátiles al norte del valle del río Jordán intentando sortear los problemas de acceso al agua. “Por la guerra de agua que Israel tiene contra nosotros hemos tenido que dejar de plantar la cosecha más común de la zona: bananas. Necesitan agua dulce y los israelíes no nos dejan coger agua dulce. El alto coste del agua nos obliga a dejar tierra sin plantar”. Ahmed habla del control ejercido por la Compañía israelí de Aguas sobre el suministro en el territorio palestino ocupado. Según la organización  B’tselem, el consumo de agua de los palestinos en Cisjordania es de 20-73 litros por persona al día, por debajo de los 100 litros/persona/día recomendados por la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) para la dignidad humana. El consumo de los israelíes es de 183 litros por persona al día, así que el problema parece tener raíz en el reparto de agua de la única compañía proveedora, Mekorot la Compañía israelí de Aguas. Los quinientos mil colonos israelíes que habitan en Cisjordania usan seis veces más agua que los 2, 6 millones de palestinos que viven ahí. Además, en el año 2013 la construcción de asentamientos (ilegales ante la ley internacional)  ha aumentado un 123%

Gráfico cedido por B'tselem sobre el consumo de agua en Israel, Cisjordania y la Franja de Gaza
Gráfico cedido por B’tselem sobre el consumo de agua en Israel, Cisjordania y la Franja de Gaza

28 de julio de 2010, las Naciones Unidas establecen el  Derecho al Agua como un derecho para todos los seres humanos, por encima de cualquier discriminación racial. Los palestinos comienzan a pensar que quizás sea el final de la apropiación de sus recursos hídricos, explotados ilegalmente por una entidad ocupante (Israel) que le niega el acceso libre a sus aguas desde 1967. Un colonialismo que, desvinculándose de la  ley humanitaria internacional, se hizo soberano de las aguas palestinas, de sus acuíferos (los cisjordanos y el gazatí) y de la parte correspondiente a Palestina del caudal del río Jordán. En 1982 las autoridades israelíes entregaban el control sobre las aguas del territorio palestino ocupado a Mekorot, la Compañía israelí de Aguas. Desde entonces, la Autoridad Palestina del Agua se ve forzada a comprar a Mekorot la mitad del agua para uso doméstico, cuando legalmente esta agua debería haber sido asignada a los palestinos en virtud de su participación en la ribera del sistema acuífero de Cisjordania. “Mekorot reduce o corta temporalmente la poca agua que provee a los palestinos- explica Ghada Snunu de la organización palestina  EWASH.- Además, cuando los palestinos tienen agua corriente, por lo general, está unida al sistema de agua de los asentamientos israelíes, aunque con menor volumen y tuberías de menor diámetro. Los colonos suelen desconectar el agua que fluye a las aldeas palestinas.”

Palestinos del valle del Jordán sin red de saneamiento ni agua corriente/ Fotografía: Atef Abu a-Rub-B'tselem.
Palestinos del valle del Jordán sin red de saneamiento ni agua corriente/ Fotografía: Atef Abu a-Rub-B’tselem.

Israel explota el 50% de las aguas del río Jordán, aunque según los acuerdos internacionales los palestinos deberían tener acceso al 9%. De la cantidad total de agua proveniente de los acuíferos palestinos, Israel se queda con un 80%, unos 565 millones m3/ año. Los palestinos tienen solo acceso a 86, 5 millones m3/año. Las autoridades israelíes no permiten la construcción o el mantenimiento de infraestructuras hídricas a los palestinos en el 60% del territorio de Cisjordania. En las zonas que sí está permitido, el proceso para obtener permisos puede durar de 3 a 4 años y el palestino interesado necesita obtener la aprobación de: la Autoridad israelí de Antigüedades, la Administración Civil israelí, el ministerio de Agricultura israelí, la Autoridad israelí de Aguas y la Autoridad israelí de Electricidad. Es una empresa prácticamente imposible.

Camión cisterna vendiendo agua desalinizada a las casas de Gaza./ Foto: Isabel Pérez.
Camión cisterna vendiendo agua desalinizada a las casas de Gaza./ Foto: Isabel Pérez.

La rica y fértil zona del valle del río Jordán es quizá la zona más codiciada por Israel. En 1967 había en Jeftlek, en la parte norte del valle, donde cultiva verduras y dátiles Ahmed Mawahra, 134 pozos de agua que regaban 38 mil dónums de cultivos palestinos. Tras la ocupación, Israel confiscó 20 mil dónums que utilizó para construir asentamientos y campos militares. Hoy, el número de pozos permitidos por los israelíes es de 26. “Los israelíes ponen contadores sobre cada pozo para limitar la cantidad de agua. La cantidad impuesta o permitida para cada pozo es 25.000 m3/ año. Los colonos, en cambio, pueden excavar tantos pozos como quieran, sin importar la profundidad, y sin permisos”, explica el agricultor. El suministro de agua a las ciudades y aldeas palestinas no es continuo, sobre todo en verano, y los palestinos pueden quedarse sin agua durante semanas. Algo contradictorio con las escenas de israelíes disfrutando de sus piscinas o con las últimas tendencias del mercado israelí: la exportación de agua.

Joven palestina de Gaza llena un bidón de agua de la cisterna doméstica presente en todas las casas palestinas de la Franja/ Foto: Isabel Pérez.
Joven palestina de Gaza llena un bidón de agua de la cisterna doméstica presente en todas las casas palestinas de la Franja/ Foto: Isabel Pérez.

“Israel se acaba de convertir en una nación y una economía excedente de agua – comenta Clemens Messerschmid, hidrogeólogo alemán que lleva diecisiete años trabajando en los territorios ocupados.- Un país que ahora tiene interés en exportar agua. Esto es porque Israel ahora desaliniza 650 millones m3/año y realiza un reutilizamiento combinado, de doble uso, y retorno de uso de agua usada y aguas residuales de 400 millones m3/año. Las crueles restricciones impuestas a los palestinos portan la irracionalidad, la locura y el odio racista, no del todo explicable por intereses económicos.”

Gaza, un desastre humanitario para 2020

El mayor desastre humanitario de la Franja de Gaza ya tiene fecha, las Naciones Unidas lo anunciaron hace más de un año:  Gaza en 2020 no será un lugar habitabl eEl duro bloqueo israelí y la falta de agua potable hacen de la vida en la Franja un infierno terrenal. Los gazatíes tienen que gastarse, como media, una tercera parte de sus escasos ingresos para comprar agua potable. La mayoría de ellos elige el agua desalinizada por empresas privadas o por las municipalidades, repartida por camiones cisterna que la venden a 20 shekel/100 litros. Debido al bloqueo, las centrales desalinizadoras de la Franja están obsoletas o no funcionan a pleno rendimiento. Tampoco pueden entrar los materiales comprados con donaciones de otros países para construir nuevas centrales. Así, el agua embotellada israelí llena los estantes de tiendas. Su precio, desorbitado, tiene además la marca de la ocupación más barata de la historia. Los israelíes extraen, según EWASH, un 66% del agua de la única fuente hídrica de la Franja: el acuífero costero. Un acuífero agotado por el sobrebombeo, la escasez de lluvias, el uso de químicos agrícolas, pero también por la construcción de presas israelíes que impiden la llegada del agua que debería realimentarlo. Todo esto ha hecho que el 95% del agua esté contaminada en la reserva subterránea gazatí. “Mekorot no solo se aprovecha de los acuíferos palestinos en Cisjordania, también bombea el agua de la Franja de Gaza. Está explotando los recursos palestinos, lo que va en contra de la ley internacional que garantiza a los palestinos tener acceso a sus recursos naturales”, explica Mohsen Abu Ramadán, representante del BDS que acaba de lanzar  una nueva campaña de boicot contra la compañía de aguas israelí. Como todos los agricultores de la Franja, Tareq Assani, sabe muy bien qué significa regar con agua salada y enfrentarse a las vicisitudes de la situación actual. “Antes del bloqueo tenía olivos muy productivos, campos cultivados con verduras y hortalizas. Teníamos que comprar agua de Mekorot, era agua dulce. La de ahora es salada, viene del acuífero y la transportan de tanque a tanque hasta aquí. Cuando llevé una muestra de agua a la Cruz Roja me dijeron que es demasiado salada para los campos, pero no tenemos otra opción. Hace un mes y medio los israelíes bombardearon uno de los tanques principales y se cortó la irrigación a la zona.” Para los expertos y defensores de los derechos humanos la solución para todos llegará cuando Israel cumpla fielmente con los tratados y las leyes internacionales. “La crisis del agua en Gaza puede resolverse si los palestinos obtienen una parte justa y equitativa de los recursos hídricos compartidos”, dice tajante Ghada Snunu de EWASH. Las fértiles tierras del oasis de Gaza han dejado paso a la desolación. El agua salada destruye las canalizaciones de casas y campos agrícolas. En esta época del año el olor de los naranjos, ahora desaparecidos, impregnaba todos los rincones. Hoy, palestinos, árboles y plantas sufren una inaudita sed de justicia.

publicado en: http://www.eldiario.es/desalambre/Mekorot-apartheid-agua-Palestina_0_244976421.html

Ethusiasm in Argentina strengthens the Campaign against Mekorot

On World Water Day and in oaccasion of the International Year of Solidarity with Palestine, Saturday 22nd March, in the city of Moreno, Buenos Aires, a journey with several activities took place. It was an afternoon full of color and diversity, in which artists from different areas, simultaneously, showed their commitment to the Palestinian cause and the vital human right of access to water. Artists painted a mural and musicians such as Actitud Palestina, el Bocha, Voces Nativas performed.

The event was organized with the visible commitment by the Hacia Palestina (Towards Palestine) Association, the group Human Rights in Palestine, and the Argentinian Palestinian Federation.

During the activity speakers informed the public about the criminal actions of the Israeli water company, Mekorot, which monopolizes the service in the occupied Palestinian territories, drying up natural spring water from Palestinian lands and soil to divert it towards illegal Israeli colonies. The same company is trying to establish itself in Argentina. With the effort of local organizations and activists, it has had its work in the city of La Plata suspended. Yet, in other parts of our country Mekorot is continuing its efforts, bringing with it the consequent danger to our resources and complicity with their criminal actions.

We thank the Municipality of Moreno, the Director of Human Rights, Miguel Fernandez, the Moreno HIJOS group who all joined us, the people of Moreno and everyone who came to the square to join and share this evening in a warm atmosphere of camaraderie and enthusiasm.

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Water apartheid in Palestine – a crime against humanity?

Systematic, acute, malicious discrimination in access to water in the West Bank and Gaza, combined with massive resource theft, is operated by the occupation authorities and the private water company Mekorot, writes Ayman Rabi on UN World Water Day.

Settlements benefit from enough water to run farms and orchards, and for swimming pools and spas, while Palestinians often struggle to access the minimum water requirements.

Today is UN World Water Day - a day to remember the billion people who are unable to meet their needs for safe, clean water due to drought, poverty and official neglect.

But it’s also a day to remember, and fight for, 2.1 million Palestinians who suffer something different – an artificial water scarcity deliberately created and sustained by Israel’s military occupation, and the private Israeli water company Mekorot.

Increased international pressure brings hope that the tide may be finally turning for Palestinians striving for water justice in the West Bank and Gaza – in particular, recent investment and partnership decisons against Mekarot, which runs Israel’s discriminatory water policy in the West Bank.

Waterless in Gaza and East Jerusalem

The situation in Gaza is especially dire. The tiny, densely populated territory relies entirely on its depleted, saltwater-contaminated and sewage-polluted aquifer, and the water it produces is unfit for consumption. Water has to be bought, expensively, in bottles or from mobile tanks.

Moreover restrictions on fuel imports mean that Gaza’s single power station spends most of its time idle – and so long as it’s not running water and sewage cannot be pumped. So the taps are dry, toilets are blocked, and sewage pollution gets worse.

Not that Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem have it a lot better. As reported on 17th March, the city suffered a long water cut beginning on 4th March leaving Ras Shehada, Ras Khamis, Dahyat A’salam and the Shuafat refugee camp – cut off from the rest of the city by the separation wall – with no running water.

The reason is simple – old and inadequate water infrastructure, which there are no plans to improve or renew.

Oslo II Accords – the Palestinians were shafted

For West Bank as a whole the facts speak for themselves. The Oslo II Accords dealt Palestinians a singularly poor hand - limiting the volume of water it could produce, as well as imposing severe restrictions on the development and maintenance of Palestinian water infrastructure.

The Accords allow Palestinans to abstract only 118 million cubic meters (mcm) per year from boreholes, wells, springs and precipitation in the West Bank. But Israel is allowed to take four times as much – 483 mcm per year – from the same Palestinian resources.

So not only does Israel now occupy 80% of the area of historic Palestine, but it – via the water company Mekarot – also takes 80% of the water resources from the 20% of the land that is left to the Palestinians.

Sold down the river

But it gets worse. Oslo II’s draconian restrictions on water development imposed by Israel mean that Palestinians can only actually abstract 87 mcm in the West Bank, of the 118 mcm they are allowed.

The acute water deficit is made up by the supply of piped water from Israel. Mekarot currently sells the Palestinian Water Authority some 60 mcm per year – at full price.

As reported by Amira Hass in Ha’aretz“in that agreement Israel imposed a scandalously uneven, humiliating and infuriating division of the water resources”.

While Palestinian water is piped into Israel at no cost, a fraction of it is then piped back again, and paid for. In this way Israel is extracting from Palestinians both their water, and their money.

In some cases Palestinians are forced to pay ten times more for their water than the price in Tel Aviv – as in the village of Sussia on South Mount Hebron, where they have to drive to the nearby town to buy over-priced water (see photo).

Water plenty, and water famine

According to the UN Human Rights Council, this all translates into a wide disparity between water use by Palestinians and by settlers in the West Bank. Settlers enjoy 400 litres per capita per day (l/c/d) while some Palestinians surive on a little as 10 l/c/d.

All Palestinian populations receive water volumes far below the level recommended by the World Health Organization of 100 – 250 l/c/d. According to the UNHRC:

“Settlements benefit from enough water to run farms and orchards, and for swimming pools and spas, while Palestinians often struggle to access the minimum water requirements.

“Some settlements consume around 400 l/c/d, whereas Palestinian consumption is 73 l/c/d, and as little as 10-20 l/c/d for Bedouin communities which depend on expensive and low quality tanker water.”

These very low levels of water provision fail to meet the water needs of many Palestinian communities – leaving them with often contaminated water, and not enough of it.

While Palestinian water use may just exceed 70 l/c/d in the relatively well served urban centers of the West Bank, it drops much lower in rural areas that have no access to piped water and depend on wells and rainwater collection.

An estimated 113,000 Palestinians in the West Bank have no piped water supply, while hundreds of thousands more have only intermittent supply, especially in the summer.

Additional restrictions

The restrictions and limitations imposed on Palestinians to access their own resources and develop them have exacerbated the already severe water shortages among Palestinian communities.

Among the restrictions are limits on the size of supply pipe, intended to limit flows as a form of rationing. Typically 30% of the water leaks from Palestinian supply pipes – because Israel refuses to allow their renewal

In ‘Area C’, which covers 60% of the area of the West Bank, Palestinian farmers and communities are not allowed to connect to the water network that serves the growing settlements – and are forbidden even to dig out cisterns.

The international community considers the establishment of Israeli settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories illegal under international law, as set out in the report of the fact finding mission of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Yet the construction of new illegal Israeli settlements and ‘outposts’, and the expansion of existing ones, is proceeding apace – and further reducing the quantity of water allocated to Palestinians.

Your water or your life

As reported by the UN in March 2012, another threat arises from settlers seizing springs by force: “Palestinians have increasingly lost access to water sources in the West Bank as a result of the takeover of springs by Israeli settlers, who have used threats, intimidation and fences to ensure control of water points close to the settlements.”

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) examined 60 springs on Palestinian land close to Israeli settlements. They found that:

“In 22 of the water sources, Palestinians have been deterred from accessing the springs by acts of intimidation, threats and violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers, while in the eight springs under full settler control, Palestinian access has been prevented by physical obstacles, including the fencing of the spring area, and its ‘de facto annexation’ to the settlement.”

Violence and destruction may also come directly from the occupation authorities. “Destruction of water infrastructure, including rainwater cisterns, by Israeli authorities has increased since the beginning of 2010; double in 2012 compared to 2011.

“The denial of water is used to trigger displacement, particularly in areas slated for settlement expansion, especially since these communities are mostly farmers and herders who depend on water for their livelihoods.

“A number of testimonies highlighted that the cutting off from water resources often precedes dispossession of lands for new settlement projects.”

Mekorot – at the heart of Israel’s water apartheid

All Israeli settlements in the West Bank are connected to piped water supplied by Israeli water company Mekorot, which took over responsibility for the water resources of the West Bank from the occupying forces in 1982.

Thus it Mekarot which is both the on-the-ground enforcer, and the economic beneficiary, of the West Bank’s ‘water apartheid’.

As the UN Human Rights Council reports: “In the Jordan Valley, deep water drillings by the Israeli national water company Mekorot and the agro-industrial company Mehadrin have caused Palestinian wells and springs to dry up. Eighty per cent of the total water resources drilled in the area is consumed by Israel and the settlements.”

“The lack of availability of Palestinian water resources has led to chronic shortages among Palestinian communities in Area C and a dependence on Mekorot … Mekorot supplies almost half the water consumed by Palestinian communities.

Restricted access

The UNHRC also reported that Palestinians do not have access to the cheaper ‘recycled water’ available to Israeli settlements, and have to buy more expensive drinking water even for irrigation purposes.

This injustice and inequity of access to water supply has always been a source of tension, especially when Palestinian villagers see water pipes leading to Israeli colonies passing through their land without supplying their village with water – as reported above at Sussia.

“The Mission heard of situations where villagers must travel several kilometres to get water when closer water resources serve neighbouring settlements”, reported UNHRC.

 

And even when they do get water, they receive second class treatment. “In the event of a water shortage, valves supplying Palestinian communities are turned off; this does not happen for settlements.

‘Week of Action Against Mekorot’

Mekorot violates international law and colludes in resource grabbing -including pillaging water resources in Palestine. It supplies this pillaged water to illegal Israeli settlements, and engages in systematic discrimination and denial of water to the Palestinian population.

For this reason Palestinian organizations including PENGON / Friends of the Earth Palestine have co-organised a ‘Stop Mekorot‘ week of action starting today, on World Water Day.

The campaign aims to intensify pressure on governments and companies to boycott Mekorot and hold the company accountable for its discriminatory water policies and practices in Palestine.

On March 20, the environmental federation Friends of the Earth International announced its support for the campaign against the discriminatory practices of Mekorot – joining the global call on governments, public and private utility companies and investors worldwide to avoid or terminate all contracts and cooperation agreements with Mekorot.

Campaign successes

In December 2013 the largest drinking water supplier in the Netherlands, Vitens, set a precedent when it decided that its commitment to international law meant it had to withdraw from a cooperation agreement with Mekorot. According to the company:

“Vitens attaches great importance to integrity and adhering to international laws and regulations. Following consultation with stakeholders, the company came to the realization that it is extremely difficult to continue joint work on projects, as they cannot be separated from the political environment.”

Mekorot suffered another blow this week when authorities in Buenos Aires, Argentina, suspended a proposed $170m water treatment plant deal.

The decision followed a campaign by local trade unions and human rights groups which highlighted Mekorot’s role in Israel’s theft of Palestinian water resources – and raised the prospect that Mekorot might export its discriminatory water policies to Argentina.

Palestinians must have their rightful share of available resources and be granted full authority to manage them properly. Equitable and wise use of available resources among all people is the only basis for lasting peace in the region.

And until then the deliberate, systematic, purposeful water discrimination and resource theft carried out in Occupied Palestine by the Occupation and Mekorot must be recognised for what they are – crimes against humanity. The perpetrators must be punished accordingly.

 


 

Ayman Rabi represents Friends of the Earth Palestine / PENGON, the Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network – established in 1996 to serve the Palestinian environment by coordinating the scattered efforts of the different Palestinian NGOs working in the field of environment.

First published at: http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2329259/water_apartheid_in_palestine_a_crime_against_humanity.html

Argentine water treatment deal goes sour on Mekorot

Published 20th March 2014A 250,000m³/d water treatment project, which a Mekorot-led consortium was lined up to finance, build and operate for Argentina’s fourth city La Plata, has been dropped by the Buenos Aires provincial government following sustained controversy over the deal.

The critical objections were the price tag ($170 million in 2012 when the bid was presented), and the inappropriately close relationship between Mekorot’s local partners – 5 de Septiembre, Mako and Eleprint – and the provincial government and water company.

In addition, the project failed to guarantee potability because it ignored the deteriorated condition of La Plata’s distribution pipes, according to Adolfo Ruiz, an engineer in the regional government’s water department and representative of the trade union ATE Hidraúlica.

Mekorot’s acceptability as a contractor was also questioned by the regional parliament because of the Israeli national water carrier’s role in appropriating Palestinian water resources on the West Bank, ex-provincial deputy Oscar Negrelli told GWI.

- See more at: http://www.globalwaterintel.com/news/2014/12/argentine-water-treatment-deal-goes-sour-mekorot.html#sthash.7PmnbRUY.kH1wxkjI.dpuf

FOEI: Israeli water company Mekorot under pressure from NGOs

MEDIA ADVISORY

Friends of the Earth International

March 20, 2014

 

ISRAELI WATER COMPANY MEKOROT UNDER PRESSURE FROM NGOS


AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS, March 20, 2014 – The environmental federation Friends of the Earth International announced its support today for a campaign exposing the discriminatory practices of Israeli state water company Mekorot in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. [1]

A ‘Week of Action Against Mekorot’ co-organised by PENGON / Friends of the Earth Palestine and other Palestinian organisations starts on March 22, World Water Day.

“Access to water for Palestinians is a major problem, in large part due to the discriminatory policies of Israeli state water company Mekorot,” said Jagoda Munic, chairperson of Friends of the Earth International.

The ‘Week of Action Against Mekorot’ aims to intensify pressure on governments and companies to boycott Mekorot and “hold the company accountable for its discriminatory water policies and practices in Palestine.”

In December 2013 the largest drinking water supplier in the Netherlands, Vitens, set a precedent when it decided that its commitment to international law meant it had to withdraw from a cooperation agreement with Mekorot. [2]

“Many Palestinian communities suffer from a lack of access to adequate water due to the encroachment of Israeli settlers on water resources and to Israeli policies and practices that deny Palestinians the human right to water,” said Dr. Ayman Rabi from Friends of the Earth Palestine / PENGON.

All Israeli settlements in the West Bank are connected to piped water supplied by Mekorot. Many people even have swimming pools. Meanwhile an estimated 15% of the Palestinian population is not serviced at all. [3]

The international community considers the establishment of Israeli settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories illegal under international law. [4]

Mekorot violates international law, colludes in pillaging water resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, supplies this pillaged water to illegal Israeli settlements, and engages in systematic discrimination and denial of water to the Palestinian population, according to PENGON. [5]

Consequently, Friends of the Earth International has joined the global call on governments, public and private utility companies and investors worldwide to avoid or terminate all contracts and cooperation agreements with Mekorot.

For more information contact

Jagoda Munic, chairperson of Friends of the Earth International:
+385 98 17 95 690 (Croatian mobile) or jagoda@zelena-akcija.hr

Dr. Ayman Rabi, chairperson of Friends of the Earth Palestine / PENGON :
ayman@phg.org

Notes to Editors

[1] For more information about the Week of Action Against Mekorot:  www.stopmekorot.org

[2] For more information : www.nltimes.nl/2013/12/11/dutch-water-firm-cuts-relations-israels-mekorot/

[3] For more information read ‘Water injustice in Palestine’:  www.foei.org/en/resources/publications/pdfs/2014/Water-injustice-in-Palestine.pdf/view

[4] For more information read the report of the fact finding mission of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:
www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session19/FFM/PR_FFM_31012013_en.pdf

[5] For more information :
www.foei.org/en/resources/publications/pdfs/2013/environmental-nakba-environmental-injustice-and-violations-of-the-israeli-occupation-of-palestine.pdf

Pescadores repudiam convênio entre o Estado brasileiro e o governo de Israel

Moção de repúdio ao Convênio entre o Estado brasileiro e o governo de Israel para a Pesca e Aquicultura 
 
A Assembleia Nacional do Conselho Pastoral dos Pescadores – CPP, composta por 70 representantes dos pescadores, agentes de pastoral e parceiros de todo o país, reunida de 10 a 14 de março de 2014, em Olinda – PE, tomou conhecimento da trágica situação dos pescadores palestinos da Faixa de Gaza imposta pelo Estado de Israel e das tratativas do Governo Brasileiro, através do Ministério da Pesca e Aquicultura – MPA, de estabelecer convênios de cooperação entre os dois países, na área de pesca e aquicultura, que vão afetar diretamente aqueles pescadores/as palestinos e seus tradicionais territórios pesqueiros. 
 
Por meio desta Moção, a Assembleia do CPP se dirige ao Governo Brasileiro / MPA para repudiar veemente estes convênios, pelas razões a seguir:
 
- em desrespeito aos Acordos de Paz de Oslo (1993), Israel vem restringindo ilegal e unilateralmente o limite de 20 milhas náuticas para pesca dos palestinos da Faixa de Gaza no Mar Mediterrâneo, reduzidas a 3 milhas em 2007, inviabilizando a única fonte de renda de aproximadamente 3.500 famílias de pescadores;
 
- neste intento, Israel usa de força letal contra os pescadores palestinos, com disparos de metralhadoras, bombas, canhões de água e sequestros, com o que 12 pescadores foram assassinados, 147 presos mesmo pescando dentro dos novos limites impostos, 24 feridos e 49 barcos destruídos;
 
- os convênios reforçam a política de priorização absoluta da pesca e da aquicultura empresariais, baseadas em métodos e tecnologias insustentáveis a longo prazo, de grande impacto ambiental e social e de duvidoso retorno econômico, uma vez dependente de investimentos públicos, além de pretender aniquilar e substituir a pesca artesanal em Gaza e aqui;
 
- os convênios, de interesses econômicos de poucos, contrariam atitudes do atual e recentes governos brasileiros de apoio ao direito palestino ao seu território histórico, no que conta com respaldo de porções significativas de lideranças sociais e políticas e do povo brasileiro.
 
Com base nestas razões, a Assembleia Nacional do CPP propõe que o governo brasileiro suspenda as relações e intercâmbios do Ministério de Pesca e Aquicultura (MPA) com Israel.
 

Olinda, 14 de março de 2014.