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- We only demand what the international law says. Where there are common resources they ought to be distributed in a fair and reasonable way. That is what we ask for, said Dr Shaddad Attili, minister of the Palestinian Water Authority.

In January the French parliament’s committee for foreign affairs published a report on the water situation on the occupied Westbank. The report concluded that more water is used by the 550 000 Israeli settlers than by over two million Palestinians.

The Swedish organization Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (JIPF), Olof Palme International Center and ABF Stockholm (the Workers Educational Association) arranged a seminar in Stockholm in August on the Palestinian water issue. The participants talked about several aspects of the water issue.

– Water is expensive on the Westbank because of the unjust distribution, according to Andrea Bodekull of the Swedish section of Amnesty International.

The Israeli occupation controls the water resources and there are many examples of water being used as a tool of oppression.

– By cutting off Palestinians access to water, the Israeli occupation forces people to move, an illegal act according to international law, said Sara Lindblom former program director of the international law program at the Swedish aid organization Diakonia.

The water situation is critical and too little is being done, according to the participants of the seminar. A newly published UN report states that Gaza will not be inhabitable in 2020 due to water scarcity and low quality of the water. Dr Shaddad Attili pointed out that humanitarian aid is not enough to solve the water issue.

– It has to be combined with political support to make Palestine able to demand its rights.

The original text is written by Ekim Caglar, the English abstract by Otto Widmark.

Published: 2012-09-06

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