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Israel cuts water supply to Palestine during Ramadan

Israel orders the only company that provides water to the Palestinian territories to cut supplies. The reasons are still unknown. And, so, Ramadan starts with no water.

“Water is life”. June Kunugi, UNICEF’s special representative to Palestine, reaffirmed it during the opening of the first water desalination plant in Gaza. Exactly while Israel decided to cut water supplies to West Bank, leaving tens of thousands of Palestinian people without water during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

 

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According to NGOs Palestinian are obliged to live with few litres of water a day. © Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

 

In the first two days of Ramadan, Mekorot, the only company charged by Israel with providing Palestinian cities with water, siphoned off water supplies to the city of Salfit, obliging its population to buy water bottles at exorbitant prices. Ayman Rabi, director of the Palestinian Hydrology Group – a Palestinian NGO whose aim is improving the access to safe drinking water – told the Arabic broadcaster Al Jazeera that people have been going through a water crisis for more than 40 years. “People are relying on purchasing water from water trucks or finding it from alternative sources such as springs and other filling points in their vicinity. Families are having to live on two, three or 10 litres per capita per day. We have made a broad reduction of the supply to all residents in the area”.

 

In the meantime, the authorities of the city of Jenin, a city of the West Bank with a population of more than 40,000 people, warned that Mekorot will be deemed the only “responsible for any tragedies resulting from water shortages during the hot summer months”, considering that in these areas temperatures exceed 35 degrees.

 

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A man goes home with two tanks of water. 95% of the water used by Palestinians is not suitable for human consumption. © Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

 

According to the United Nations the minimum quantity of water per capita per day is 7.5 litres. Israelis, settlers included, consume 350 litres of water per capita per day while Palestinians consume 60 litres on average. This amount of water doesn’t include drinking water: according to Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations, who participated in the opening of the water desalination plant, 95% of the water used by Palestinians would be “unsuitable for human consumption”.

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