Category Archives: Water supply

Occupation connected water meters being installed in Hastings

Southern Water has a programme of installing new water meters in Hastings. All, or significant portion of these, are manufactured by the Israeli company Arad Group.

Arad is known to do significant work in illegal West Bank settlements, like Ariel, and Barkan. (Both of these are in the same general region south of Nablus, as is Yatma). Arad also works with the Israeli state owned water organisation Mekorot. Mekorot operates and develops water infrastructure in the occupied West Bank. Mekorot supplies most of the water throughout Israel. In the West Bank, Mekorot is intimately involved in the system of water apartheid by which Israeli settlements are supplied with ample water, while Palestinians receive little water. The water situation of Yatma has been described in this blog before, also in this Unicef funded study.

The campaign to refuse Arad water meters has already been active in Brighton and Lewes. Barney Steele wrote in the Lewes Forum:

Arad is therefore an integral part of Israel’s apartheid water policies, which systematically deny water to Palestinian communities, whilst subsidising water supplies to illegal Israeli settlements.

As a result of these apartheid policies Israel takes more than 80 per cent of the water from the West Bank Mountain Aquifer, the main source of underground water in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, while restricting Palestinian access to a mere 20 per cent.

In 2005, 150 Palestinian and Israeli civil society groups called upon organisations and people all over the world to:
“impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era . . .for the sake of justice and genuine peace”.

Join our campaign and ask for a non-Israeli meter.

Residents in Brighton have refused to have Arad meters fitted and have accepted the offer from Southern Water of alternative meters. You are entitled to refuse as long as you accept an alternative.
To request an alternative to an Arad meter, please phone Southern Water immediately on 0845 278 0845.

You may also need to inform installers when they appear in your street – they have been instructed not to install at houses that refuse.

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Filed under Water supply

UK cabinet minister visits Nabi Saleh, Hastings Friends of Yatma was there

Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Undersecretary for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, visited the beseiged West Bank Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh this week. Nabi Saleh has been the site of weekly peaceful demonstrations, as villagers march to the spring that was stolen from them in 2009 by colonists from the nearby settlement of Halamish. Each week they are ritually and violently met by the Israeli occupation forces with tear gas, skunk water, and rubber bullets. Two Nabi Saleh residents have died recently in separate incidents.

Alistair Burt said “I recognise the suffering of Nabi Saleh”

Gill Knight, an activist from Hastings Friends of Yatma, met with the Nabi Saleh village leaders, Alistair Burt and Sir Vincent Fean, UK consul in Jerusalem, in the West Bank, Palestine yesterday. Burt said his visit was to convey his condolences the mothers of Mustafa Tamimi and Rushdi Tamimi who were killed by the Israeli army while peacefully demonstrating against the Israeli occupation and the settlement of Halamish, which has appropriated their land and the village spring. Also Burt said he wanted to get an update on events in the village and to see if the army were using less violent tactics. Gill Palestine Alistair Burt

This is Alistair Burt’s third visit to the village and he said that he would keep coming to Nabi Saleh to maintain the relationship and to show the families of Mustafa and Rushdi that they were not forgotten and their suffering was not in vain.

The visit included a visit to the local school where the UK government have just made a £5000 donation for additions to the library and scientific equipment. Alistair said that ‘he realised that the occupation caused a lot of suffering to Palestinian children and that “every child deserved a decent life”.

His next stop was Ramallah, to meet with Mohammed Abbas and he stressed that Senator Kerry was committed to get the peace talks started again and that this was the only solution for the people of Palestine. He stated that Nabi Saleh was a symbol to many both in Palestine and internationally.

Although many Palestinians think the two state solution is dead and prefer the idea of a one state democracy, his visit and support were greatly appreciated by the village.

Hastings Friends of Yatma is a solidarity and friendship group supporting Yatma, a village south of Nablus.

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Filed under Gill's blog, Land seizures, Water supply

Using Water as a Weapon

(A short journey through the ethically cleansed landscape of the Jordan Valley)

16th November, 2012

The one day trip was organised by the Jenin Freedom Theatre Bus Tour and is a snapshot of what happens in the Jordan Valley. It focusses on water rather than land confiscation. Full reports can be found in the references below.

A brief overview of the area

The Jordan Valley comprises 30% of Palestinian territory and approximately 87% of it is in Area C – meaning that Israel has full administrative control. In 1967, 360,000 Palestinians, mainly Bedouin, lived in the Jordan Valley now less than 60,000 live here, the majority in Jericho, a large urban area.

How has this happened?by the stealth of creeping ethnic cleansing.

The Jordan Valley is considered to be Palestine’s bread basket. Since 1967, Israel has implemented: the confiscation of its fertile land; closed military and firing zones; movement and building restrictions; demolition of farms and dwellings; control of Palestinian access to local, Arab and world markets. At the same time Israeli governments have encouraged, with subsidies, Jewish couples to colonise the area and there are now 35 settlements and 7 outposts on confiscated Palestinian land – a total 97% of the valley is off limits for the Palestinians for cultivation.

As we travel along the highway 90 there is plenty to see of intensive settler farming and the packaging units that will distribute fruit, especially bananas, directly to Europe. The profits accrued from this intensive farming and the profits from it are sourced from stolen water, a $114 million industry in 2010. The Veolia controlled land fill site is also spotted! – for settlement waste only! The Palestinians are forbidden to develop solid waste dumps or sewage treatment of their own.

Veolia landfill- for settlers only!

Water Control

This has been a key factor in the ethnic cleansing in the Valley. By depriving the indigenous population the means to cultivate crops and provide water for their livestock communities have been economically squeezed out of the region.

Since 1995, as the Oslo Accord was not clear about water allocation, Mekorot, the government controlled Israeli water company, have been in charge of water distribution. (The situation is more complex than this explanation, please use a reference!)

Needless to say the water is pumped to the settlements, for intensive irrigation use and Palestinians are forced to buy their rationed supply at inflated prices. The herders store water in tanks that are frequently confiscated by the army. Permits to dig news wells or renovate old ones are never issued.

According to a 2009 Save the Children factsheet 9,400 Israeli settlers consume 6.6 times more water than the 56,000 Palestinian residents in the Jordan Valley.

The Israeli army have destroyed 162 water projects along highway 90

Stopping at Al ‘Auja spring, Israeli water theft is clearly depicted in the photo….side by side there is the heavily secured Israeli pumping system and the original, destroyed water pump, existing from Ottoman times.

Settler water pumping station

Also spotted as we speed past, is the land fill site operated by Veolia – only for settler rubbish!!! Also the settlements do not control sewage leakage and so cause pollution in springs and underground water.

We visit Al Hadidya – a community completely surrounded by the Roi settlement and settlement agriculture/industry. Al Sharat, community spokesman, gave us a vivid account; out of the original 35 communities In Al Hadidya only 14 survive. He said ‘We will not leave our land’. But how long can they hold out? They suffer army harassment:

– damage to their property

– aggressive attacks and detention of the shepherds

– restricted access to their land for grazing

-being in a firing zone, now Austere Challenge (US/IOF combined military exercises) have tank manoeuvres taking place in front of their fragile settlements. We saw extensive track marks in numerous places.

(In the map, the dark maroon is the built up settlement, the maroon dots indicate settlement agriculture/industrial units, the dark grey is a Military Base, the blue is Area C and the dotted blue closed military zones)

Map of Al Hadidya in the Jordan Valley

The Jenin Freedom Theatre hold a Plackback Session where villagers tell their stories and these are reenacted by the performers, mainly using mime and with some musical effects. They are really moving and the gathered crowd is engrossed. But before this happens the Army visit us, demanding to know what we are doing and stating that the settlers have to give permission for us to have lunch! Al Sharat says that we will eat with or without it and we do. The army jeeps eventually leave – did they get the permission?

Jenin Community Theatre playback session

Jenin Community Theatre playback

It was a informative, moving day and as we leave a herd of sheep are shepherded over the hills – an almost biblical scene …. surely more appropriate to the Holy Land than intensive farming and depletion of the natural resources!

Lastly, we visit the mud brick house and workshop of the Jordan Valley Solidarity – a project aimed at providing more substantial housing for the Valley inhabitants ….run by Palestinians but anyone can volunteer to make the bricks!

Water is a human right

In a 2010 resolution, the UN General Assembly recognised “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of the right to life.” Also in 2010, the UN Human Rights Council recognised the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation as “derived from the right to an adequate standard of living” and “inextricably related to the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, as well as the right to life and human dignity.”

References – Troubled Waters – On the Brink – well worth a read.

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Filed under Home demolitions, Israeli occupation forces, Land seizures, Water supply

Yatma boys school has needs beyond new building

The Yatma Boys School has a new building thanks to a Jordanian donor. But the building is nearly empty, lacking basic facilities, even furniture. Computers are generally lacking, there is no phone line and there is only one water tap for all the students in the school. (This reflects the generally desperate water situation in Yatma, which was deprived of its spring by the settlers of the Rechalim colony).


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Filed under Education, HFOY projects in Yatma, Water supply