Friday, 4 December 2009

Water, politics and justice in Palestine and Israel

In the run up to the Copenhagen Climate Change talks two of the Ecumenical Accompaniers in Palestine-Israel have written a powerful story about how the human right to water is being rationed for Palestinians in the Holy Land.
You can learn more about the World Council of Churches' Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) and you can also find EAPPI on facebook and follow EAPPI on twitter. You can also find out more about the human right to water through the Ecumenical Water Network and its campaigns.

Rows of neat suburban houses stand on the parched, barren hillside. A water tower looms over them, irrigating lush greenery in the gardens. But outside this West Bank settlement's perimeter fence sits the tiny Bedouin community of Umm Al Kher, whose residents are desperate for water.
Here in the South Hebron Hills, there has been scarce rainfall for many months. Grey rock and dry, rugged earth spread off in every direction. But locals who met observers from the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel said the effects of the recent drought are exacerbating a man-made water crisis.The community is not connected to any water supply network and the Israeli army will not issue permits to dig wells. The community is forced to buy tanked water from Mekorot, the Israeli national water company, which charges 5 shekels (around $1.30) per cubic meter. That cost prohibits the shepherds of Umm Al Kher from irrigating crops. Umm Al Kher's only other water supply is a pipe no bigger than a garden hose that trails across from the pump in the settlement.