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article imagePalestinian farmers denied access to water in disputed West Bank

By Michael Krebs     Nov 14, 2009 in World
Claiming Palestinian farmers are stealing water from the central source shared by both Israelis and Palestinians, Israel has implemented water restrictions on Palestinians in the disputed West Bank.
Access to fresh water supplies throughout the Middle East - and throughout Israel and Palestine in particular - is a cause of concern and conflict.
"Water is a cardinal issue in the Middle East," MidEastWeb states on their web site. "Any year there is a drought, it makes headlines. Otherwise, it is always there, lurking in the background, behind the religious and nationalist slogans and rhetoric."
However, in the disputed West Bank territory, a water-rights disagreement is threatening to create a broader conflict among Palestinians and Israelis.
Under the shadow of fully-quenched Israeli West Bank settlements, Israeli military forces are denying Palestinian farmers access to water. The Israelis claim that the Palestinians are stealing the water from a central reserve and that Israel needs to have a cohesively monitored water infrastructure in order to supply the needs of both populations equally.
However, the World Bank has accused Israel of using four times as much water as Palestinians from the Mountain Aquifer shared by both populations. Additionally, Palestinian farmers contend that Israel is attempting to dry up their lands and drive them away in order to establish more settlements in the region.
"This policy is not a new policy, there are lots of examples of Israel trying to force Palestinians to leave their land so settlements can expand easily," Nader al-Khateeb, the director of Friends of the Earth in the Middle East, told Al Jazeera. "This is an organised Israeli policy designed to prevent the development of the Palestinian economy - knowing that agriculture is a major sector within the economy."
More about Palestine, Water, Israel, Agriculture, Occupation
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