Dehydrating the Palestinian People
An editorial from Haaretz explains how Israel is destroying the water reserves of Palestinians in the West Bank as part of an intentional policy to ethnically cleanse the occupied territories “and thus make it easier to annex these areas to Israel.”
Since the beginning of the year, Israel has destroyed 35 rainwater cisterns used by Palestinian communities, 20 of them in the area of Hebron and the southern Hebron Hills. In 2011, Israel destroyed 15 cisterns, and in the preceding 18 months, 29…Usually, the communities whose cisterns were destroyed are a short distance from settlements and unauthorized outposts that enjoy a regular water supply. At the same opportunity the Civil Administration almost always destroys Palestinian tents, animal pens and food storage facilities.
…Leaving Palestinian communities disconnected from infrastructure, declaring large areas as firing zones and destroying cisterns are part of an intentional policy since the early 1970s. Its goal is to leave as few Palestinians as possible in the majority of the West Bank (today’s Area C, under Israeli civil and military control), to expedite Jewish settlement and thus make it easier to annex these areas to Israel.
The European Union opposes Israel’s policies in Area C, which the EU believes sabotages the two-state solution. It also bases its position on international law, which prohibits the demolition of structures that would leave a protected population without food and water and result in their forced dislocation. Basic moral principles, as well as avoiding another head-on collision with our friends, requires that Israel cease and desist from destroying cisterns that are essential for the existence of dozens of Palestinian communities.
Deliberately depriving the civilian population of food and water is only one part of the Israeli strategy to smoke out the Palestinian people: the rate at which Israel is demolishing Palestinian homes and building up Israeli settlements in their place is greater now than ever before. This is the type of cruel policy that has been unilaterally supported by the United States for decades, and is currently being abetted by unprecedented rates of US economic, military and diplomatic aid.