Fire fights, bombs, riots – we are all familiar with the usual ways that Israel and Palestine have fought with and killed each other for countless years. However, they are now fighting a battle that apparently isn’t quite as news worthy, but is still as serious. They are fighting a war over water, and things are getting pretty desperate.
Water shortages are nothing particularly new in Palestine, nor for Palestinian communities in Israel. The supply of fresh water has always been controlled by the government in Israel, meaning that the flow to Palestinian homes has either been capped or obstructed for a long while. However, now as temperatures climb ever higher, taps are running high and water shortages are making tempers run hotter than usual. Hydrologists that have been working with Palestinian communities on their water shortages for decades have officially hailed this shortage as hydro-apartheid.
However, this dramatic new title for the water shortage doesn’t come without merit. New survey data published by Israeli journalists have found that the Israeli Water Authority has reduced the amount of water delivered to Palestinian villages by over half in some areas. This new survey data actually goes on to contradict the denials of the government that water supplies were cut during the summer, but those lies are nothing new to residents either.
This shortage of water goes back to 1967 when Israel seized control of the West Bank as well as the West Bank Mountain Aquifer, the principle water reserve in the area. As of 1990, Israel controlled 80 percent of the area’s water, leaving Palestinians in the area to survive on the remaining 20 percent. However, in recent years, they have only had access to 14 percent of that due to Israeli restrictions on water drilling that prevent the community from harvesting the water the sit on.
Essentially, some Palestinian communities do sit on a wealth of water, which is both a blessing and a curse. The areas with water have been constantly targeted by Israeli forces seeking to drive the Palestinian communities out. They are also prevented from drilling, piping, and otherwise using this water by Israeli military law. This law also prevents creating water reserves and even harvesting rainwater, leaving these water-wealthy communities at the mercy of their government.
Now many Palestinian cities have gone as long as 40 days without running water this summer. Those who can afford it are now hauling in tanks of water, and the rest, well, you can imagine that the rest are just having to scrape by. Many of which have resorted to breaking laws to harvest precious water.
Before these new restrictions, Palestinian officials in these communities were forced to pay Israel for drinkable water to fit the population’s minimum needs. Yet, Israel is willing to sell less and less as relations degrade between the two nations. Now Palestinians drink a third less water than the World Health Organization’s 100 liters per person per day recommendation.
While the Middle East is not the most favorably looked upon place in the world, if you take one thing away from this story of hydro-apartheid, it is that your government does just have force that it can use to control you. Someday, they can start controlling you through precious resources that you need. What if water becomes short in the rest of the United States like it has in California? Or crops in the grain belt states start to massively fail? Would the government not play favorites with which communities get to drink and eat? Contact us today to learn more about our long-term survival supplies so that you can keep providing for your family when the government cannot.
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