The “Apolitical” Approach to Palestine’s Water Crisis
The “Apolitical” Approach to Palestine’s Water Crisis.
You may also like: For decades, Israel has proposed technological solutions to address this scarcity, such as desalination plants and wastewater treatment and reuse.
Yet the Accords allow Israel to control Palestinian water infrastructure development by sanctioning and freezing Palestinian water projects while also intimidating Palestinians so as to legitimize water projects in settlements, which are illegal under international law.
Israel is currently using 85% of the shared water resources of the West Bank, leaving Palestinians high and dry.
Not only does Israel exert hegemony over access to West Bank resources, the Palestinian Water Authority is completely dependent on Israel as the main supplier of water, purchasing its stock from Israel since the Oslo Accords.
The freeze was due to a conditional arrangement in which Israeli settlement projects had to be approved for Palestinian projects to be considered.
Since the 1990s, international donor agencies have increased investment in the Palestinian water sector by constructing small- and large-scale wastewater treatment plants, water networks, sewage lines, and even a desalination plant in Gaza.
Such an approach strengthens the narrative of the geographical and political separation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, treating Gaza as a standalone entity requiring its own energy-intensive facility for water.
The Elision of Palestinians from Infrastructure, Technology, and Scientific Collaboration With the Israeli occupation imposing military laws on the access and control of essential resources such as water, as well as tightening imports of basic fuel and energy sources, the Palestinian Authority has not developed substantial infrastructural development in the water sector for decades, especially in Area C, which constitutes 60% of the West Bank.
In sum, donors have continued a business-as-usual approach that normalizes the occupation, engaging with and funding research and scientific collaboration with Israel and investing millions of dollars in water infrastructure development commandeered by Israel.