Israel’s Water Crimes

Israel’s Water Crimes

By Leslie Bravery, Palestine Human Rights Campaign – 18 June 2013

The International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS) Deir Istiya Human Rights Report No. 479 [1] contains a vivid account of a typical Israeli war crime in Occupied Palestine. On Sunday, 16 June in the village of Asira, settler militants, accompanied by about 30 Israeli soldiers, stoned Palestinian workers who were building a reservoir and reticulation to connect surrounding villages and ordered the workers out of the area. They were aided by the Israeli Army which opened fire with stun and tear gas grenades on both the workers and other villagers who had gathered to support them. Criminal behaviour such as this is an almost daily occurrence in Asira with illegal Occupation settlers and the Israeli Army having already destroyed around 100 of the pipes originally purchased for the project. 

Asira [al Qibliya] is an ancient village of 3500 souls that dates back to Roman times. The growing theft of Asira’s land and water began in the mid-1980s with the establishment of the Occupation settler colony of Yitzhar. Until then, the area had been the local bread-basket, thanks largely to a natural spring that has now been taken by settlers who, with the help of the Israeli Army, have completely blocked Palestinian access to it. Thanks to the Israeli Occupation, villagers are forced to rely on water tanks that, in an area of high unemployment, are painfully expensive. One tank will hold just enough water to last a family one week. Israel’s water theft policy does more than serve the settler greed for water, it is designed to drive the indigenous population off the land altogether.

The illegal settlers represent the worst aspects of Zionist fanaticism and mob behaviour. They physically assault Palestinian villagers (the victims often include children) and settler arsonists ruin villagers’ hard-earned crops, olive trees and property. Nothing is safe from these attacks against which, because of Israeli Army complicity, there is no hope of defence. The world community does nothing to defend the indigenous Palestinian population and fails to acknowledge Israel’s manifest malevolence towards them. Our leaders effectively grant the Zionist state impunity by continuing to insist that the only path to peace is through the futile so-called “peace process” that has so successfully bought Israel the time to expand and consolidate its belligerent occupation of Palestinian land.


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