Letter from Gaza -
What really happened during the Israeli attacks?:
In southwest Israel, at the border of
Egypt and the Gaza Strip, there is a small crossing station not far
from a kibbutz named Kerem Shalom. A guard tower looms over the
flat, scrubby buffer zone. Gaza never extends more than seven miles
wide, and the guards in the tower can see the Mediterranean Sea, to
the north. The main street in Gaza, Salah El-Deen Road, runs along
the entire ....
Palestinian farmers in the West Bank, or "water pirates" as Israeli
occupation forces prefer to call them, are siphoning off drinking
water pipes in an effort to secure water to irrigate their farmland.
Water is an increasingly disputed resource between Israel and the
A World Bank report has accused Israel of using four times more
water than Palestinians from the so-called Mountain Aquifer that
bridges Israel and the territory and runs along the West Bank.
Israel disputes that claim and says the Palestinians are
jeopardising the resource through illegal use.
Palestinians argue they are being denied access in order to force
them off their land.
This exclusive report from Al Jazeera shows Israeli occupation
forces dismantling a farmer's water pipes in the agricultural
village of al-Baqa.
Badran Jaber, a Palestinian farmer, told Al Jazeera: "We were
surprised by a large group of soldiers and settlers who surrounded
the entire area. We asked them: 'why are you doing this and what do
you want?' They refused to speak to us.
"Men who came with the soldiers stormed the field and pulled out all
the irrigation pipes, destroying the crops."
Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland reports on how Israeli rules blight the
lives of many Palestinians.
Nader al-Khateeb, the director of Friends of the Earth in the Middle
East, told Al Jazeera: "We are under occupation and everything is
restricted by Israeli procedures.
"This policy is not a new policy, there are lots of examples of
Israel trying to force Palestinians to leave their land so
settlements can expand easily.
"This is an organised Israeli policy designed to prevent the
development of the Palestinian economy - knowing that agriculture is
a major sector within the economy."
Amnesty International, said in a report released last month, Israel
is denying Palestinians adequate access to clean, safe water while
allowing almost unlimited supplies to Israeli settlers in the
occupied West Bank.
Israel's daily water consumption per capita is four times higher
than the 70 litre per person consumed in the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip, according to the report entitled:
Troubled waters - Palestinians denied fair access to water.
"Swimming pools, well-watered lawns and large irrigated farms in
Israeli settlements ... stand in stark contrast next to Palestinian
villages whose inhabitants struggle even to meet their domestic
water needs," the human rights group said.
Israel's water authority called the report "biased and incorrect, at
the very least" and said that while there is a water gap, it is not
nearly as big as presented by Amnesty.
The Amnesty report said Israel uses more than 80 per cent of water
drawn from the aquifer and while Israel has other water sources, the
aquifer is the West Bank's only supply of water.
In the Gaza Strip, several repair works were under way to improve
sanitation before the Israeli blockade was imposed in 2007.
But the projects have been on hold under the siege, as Israel is
preventing repair materials from coming into the Strip.
Adding to an already dire situation, Israel's war on Gaza early this
year left water reservoirs, wells, sewage networks and pumping
stations severely damaged.
Amnesty said between 180,000 and 200,000 Palestinians in West Bank
rural communities have no access to running water, while taps in
other areas often run dry.
"Israel allows the Palestinians access to only a fraction of the
shared water resources, which lie mostly in the occupied West Bank",
Donatella Rovera, an Amnesty researcher, said.