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The right to water in Palestinian Territories & Israel: a petition

If you agree that Israel must stop violating the human right to water and sanitation in the Occupied Territories, please consider signing this petition to the Knesset:

"The human right to water and sanitation is protected under international law. Yet in the State of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, this right is being violated by the policies, actions and omissions of the Israeli government. On the event of World Water Day (22 March 2008), we call upon the Government of Israel to respect, protect and fulfil the right to water and sanitation.

The blockade on Gaza has denied fuel to operate pumping stations and sewage treatment works and the entry of spare parts needed to maintain water and sewage infrastructure bringing these facilities to a standstill. Thousands of Gazans have been cut off from their water supply, and sewage treatment works are overflowing and contaminating drinking water supplies. Currently, over 90% of the water in Gaza is not considered fit for human consumption according to World Health Organization standards. The prevention of entry of water purification chemicals puts the health of the population at risk.

In the West Bank, military occupation is hampering efforts to develop adequate water and sewage infrastructure for the Palestinian population. Over 200,000 people remain unconnected to the water network and are reliant on untreated spring water and water transported to them in tankers at high cost. Water tankers are impeded from delivering water to Palestinian communities by checkpoints, roadblocks, land closures and the Security Fence. Water cut-offs are frequent during summer months. Furthermore, there is only one fully functional sewage treatment plant in the West Bank, to serve a population of over 2.3 million people. 90% of sewage is discharged untreated into the environment, posing serious risks to drinking water quality.

In the State of Israel, the Bedouin communities of the unrecognized villages of the Negev (some 80,000 citizens of Israel) are denied basic service provision, including water and sanitation facilities and services, in an attempt to force them off their historic lands into government designated townships. They too are forced to pay high prices for tanker water, which is often contaminated, harming their health.

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ratified by the State of Israel, guarantees the right of all people to an adequate standard of living and the highest attainable standard of health which include the right to safe and sufficient supplies of water and affordable and accessible water and sanitation services and facilities. This applies to ALL citizens of Israel, and also to Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. As an occupying power, under international humanitarian law, Israel is responsible for the welfare of the civilian population of the Palestinian Territories and must ensure that they are provided with or allowed to secure the basics for survival including food, water, medical supplies and shelter. With regards to water, prisoners of war and/or protected persons are guaranteed access to drinking water, water for personal hygiene and sanitation under the Geneva Conventions.

We urge the Government of Israel to abide by its international legal obligations and ensure the right to water and sanitation is respected, protected and fulfilled for all those residing in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories."

Sign this petition here.

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