New UN report on takeover of Palestinian water springs by Jewish settlers

[ PIC 20/03/2012 – 09:35 AM ]

NEW YORK, (PIC)– The UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) said the Jewish settlers in the West Bank has significantly impaired Palestinian access to and use of a growing number of water springs.

In a recent report issued by OCHA, it is clearly stated that the main methods used by settlers to take over these Palestinian springs have been intimidation and threats, and the erection of fences around the targeted areas.

“This phenomenon comes in the context of Israel’s longstanding policy of settling its civilian population in the occupied Palestinian territory, in violation of international humanitarian law,” the report emphasized.

A survey carried out by OCHA in the course of 2011 identified a total of 56 Palestinian springs in the West Bank near Israeli settlements, 30 of them were found to be under full control by Jewish settlers.

The other 26 springs are at risk of a settler takeover and has become the target of regular tours by settlers or patrolling by security coordinators of settlements.

Along with the elimination of Palestinian access, in 40 out of the 56 springs identified in the survey, Jewish settlers have started to develop the surrounding area into tourist attractions without construction permits. Works performed for this purpose include, among others, the construction or renovation of water pools, the deployment of picnic tables and shading structures, the paving of leading roads, and the installation of signs claiming the Hebrew name of the spring.

‘The takeover and development of springs by settlers has multiple ramifications on the daily lives of Palestinians living in affected areas, including the erosion of their agricultural livelihoods. Despite the decline in their yield, springs have remained the single largest water source for irrigation and a significant source for watering livestock,” OCHA affirmed.

“Springs are also a source of water for domestic consumption. Households not connected to the water network, or those supplied on an irregular basis, rely on them as a coping mechanism to meet domestic needs,” it elaborated.

It reminded that “Settlements are illegal under international humanitarian law. Settlement-related practices have also resulted in the infringement of a range of provisions in international human rights law, including those enshrining the right to property, to adequate housing, to freedom of movement, and to be free from discrimination, among others.”





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