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“Water shortages in the Palestinian Authority are the result of Palestinian policies that deliberately waste water and destroy the regional water ecology,” states Prof. Haim Gvirtzman, a professor of hydrology at the Institute of Earth Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a member of the Israel Water Authority Council.

In a paper published by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies this week, following the recent uproar at the Knesset when European Parliament Chair Martin Schulz repeated false claims that Israel denies the Palestinians an adequate water supply, Professor Haim Gvirtzman, a leading expert on the issue, asserts that the Palestinians “refuse to develop their own significant underground water resources, build a seawater desalination plant, fix massive leakage from their municipal water pipes, build sewage treatment plants, irrigate land with treated sewage effluents or modern water-saving devices, or bill their own citizens for consumer water usage, leading to enormous waste.

“At the same time,” he continues, “they drill illegally into Israel’s water resources and send their sewage flowing into the valleys and streams of central Israel.”

PALESTINIAN WATER ABUSE USED ‘AS A WEAPON AGAINST THE STATE OF ISRAEL’

“In short,” Gvirtzman, a longtime adviser to the Israel-PA Joint Water Committee, writes, “the Palestinian Authority is using water as a weapon against the State of Israel. It is not interested in practical solutions to solve the Palestinian people’s water shortages, but rather perpetuation of the shortages and the besmirching of Israel.”

After detailing these issues, including examples of how the Palestinian population has no incentive to preserve water and how the PA steals water from Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, Gvirtzman adds that “by contrast, the State of Israel creates artificial water (desalinated seawater and recycled sewage) and behaves frugally and effectively, and as a result there is no shortage of water, despite having experienced many years of drought. Furthermore, the State of Israel is a net exporter of water! Israel supplies 55 million cubic meters of water each year to Jordan and sells 50 million cubic meters to the Palestinians.”

Although this issue is timely, considering the recent accusations against Israel regarding the water issue, Gvirtzman’s findings are not new. Neither is the demonization of Israel on this issue.

Already last year, Gvirtzman authored the BESA Center’s groundbreaking 2012 study on Israel-Palestinian water issues, in which he included similar data. Other experts have also supported his findings, including, for example, Mark Langfan, an American attorney whose data, compiled during many years of research, was confirmed more than a year ago in a report published by the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria. As well, an official and detailed fact sheet published in 2012 by Israel’s water authority, titled The Water Issue Between Israel and the Palestinians, concludes that Israel fulfills its obligations while the Palestinians “constantly breach the agreement.”

Author: United with Israel Staff
Date: Feb. 26, 2014