Friday, December 4, 2009

Climate catastrophe and Israel's denial of Palestinian access to water

Javier Sethness in Dissident Voice: Amnesty International has recently released two reports on Israeli water policy that present a rather thoroughgoing indictment of the Zionist colonization project broadly conceived. Entitled “Thirsting for Justice: Palestinian Access to Water Restricted” and “Troubled Waters: Palestinians Denied Fair Access to Water,” the reports join many other studies of both more and less recent memory that have provided similar perspectives critical of Israel’s behavior toward the Palestinian people. In the reports, Amnesty finds the Israeli state to be fundamentally violating the right to water of the 4 million Palestinians living under its ongoing military occupation, and hence also to be massively violating Palestinians’ right to an adequate standard of living. It seems important to consider that this aspect of Israel’s active deprivation of the Palestinian people in many ways mirrors and previews the acute deprivation of much of the world’s population that capitalist societies are enacting through their contributions to dangerous anthropogenic interference with the Earth’s climate

For those familiar with the present situation in Palestine, Amnesty’s reports may not prove to be terribly surprising; they are, however, no less offensive and shocking for all that. Amnesty finds that Israelis consume over 80 percent of the water available in the so-called Mountain Aquifer that lies beneath the West Bank, leaving the remaining 20 percent for the 2.3 million West Bank-residing Palestinians.

...The water situation in Palestine, then, is monstrous, just as is much else related to the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine. Indeed, Israeli water policy is reminiscent of what Salih Booker and William Minter refer to in a different context as global apartheid,1 and in this sense parallels many similar horrors of the contemporary world. One of the most pressing such parallels that bears mention here is that of climate change.

… It is in the destruction by Israel of Palestinian cisterns and water-treatment plants as in its rendering of entire Palestinian communities into environmental refugees through the wholesale cutting-off of their access to water that can be seen a few of the likely realities of the totality toward which the world is moving as a result of climate change….

The Gaza Strip in May 2005, NASA

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