Seven Peace Activists Attacked and Arrested for Offering Water to Palestinians

September 21st, 2021 - by Marcy Boroff / American Friends of Combatants for Peace

Combatants for Peace Atacked, Gased and
Arrested For Bringing Water to Palestinians

Marcy Boroff / Combatants for Peace

We wanted to share this email from Combatants for Peace.

(September 20, 2021) — We’re writing with an urgent update on the situation:

Six of our activists were injured and seven more arrested while delivering water to a Palestinian family in the village of Al-Tuwani, in the South Hebron Hills. The military stopped our convoy with the water tankard by shooting tear gas and stun grenades at those delivering the water. 

Why? Because the village is only permitted water on Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays – and today is Friday. 

The Israeli military/government does not allow the village access to running water. So, the villagers are forced to purchase water in expensive tankards… but only limited water on limited days. With such little access to water many families struggle to have water to drink, cook with, clean their homes with, feed their livestock or farms with, or even bathe with.

We must change this unjust law and provide
equal access to water for all people
– regardless of race or religion

Without water we cannot survive. The disparity in justice between Israelis and Palestinians is flagrant: every Israeli Settlement – whether built with or without permission from the Israeli government – is immediately connected to the water grid and provided running water. But many Palestinian villages in the same locations (many of which have existed for hundreds of years) are not connected to running water and are systematically denied access to water.

These communities are forced to purchase overpriced water in tank, and transport them on unpaved roads. These same families live in substandard sanitary and dangerous conditions. Ultimately, this policy is an integral part of a larger right-wing strategy to impoverish and expel Palestinian communities in order to make way for larger settlement expansion, depriving Palestinians of fundamental human rights and forcing them off their land. 

Thank you for taking a stand with us.

Together, we will be bringing this issue to the forefront of public attention. We are petitioning Israeli officials, United Nations officials, EU officials and Congress to insist that these unjust laws be changed. We will also continue to bring water to communities and families who need our help.

Adam, our main organizer for this action, was hit in the stomach by a tear gas canister and required immediate medical attention. The water tankard that we attempted to bring to the village, displayed our signs alongside it.

“The purpose is noble:
stopping the rivers of blood spilling on both sides.
We are searching for a way to restore dignity,
respect, equality and hope for both peoples.”

— Marian Saadah, Palestinian Activist

Water is a Human Right
20 Liters of Water Per Person Per Day

(September 15, 2021) — Israel has controlled all the natural resources in the West Bank since 1967. It uses these resources to exert control over the Palestinian people, and to promote Jewish settlement at the expense of the local Palestinian population.

Water is the most important resource; the right of access to water and sanitation is a fundamental right enshrined in the international conventions to which Israel is a signatory. Nonetheless, the state of Israel is violating these international agreements, and denying basic human rights to the local indigenous community.

While the World Health Organization recommends 100 liters per day per person for personal and domestic use, Palestinian consumption per person in the West Bank is less than 90 liters per day per person, and in Area C it even drops to 20 liters per day.

The situation is most dire in the of dozens of localities in the south Hebron Hills and the Jordan Valley.  Israel does not allow these villages to be connected to running water, nor are they permitted to collect rainwater (which is “legally” owned by the State), therefore they are forced to buy water year-round from Israel in the form of expensive water tanks.

Delivery costs to these localities are particularly high due to poor access. Israel does not permit the dirt roads leading to the villages to be paved. The escalating cost of water under these conditions is up to 5 times the cost of water in Israel and in many cases this water is unsafe to drink due to the poor sanitation conditions in the tankers.

According to a survey conducted by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in 2013, approximately 30,000 people live in this area. In addition to imposing severe restrictions on the development of water infrastructure in these localities, Israeli authorities and settlers have taken control of the natural water sources that the local communities relied on for years.  Cisterns and wells have been destroyed by both military and settlers, and the access to them has been blocked.

This situation underscores that Israel views water — like other West Bank resources — as its exclusive property. Water has a double standard: on the one hand, the state supplies abundant water to Jewish settlements, including outposts that are illegal even by its own laws and definition.

On the other hand, it denies Palestinians’ access to water as a deliberate attempt to push them out of their homes and villages. A constant shortage of water prevents many communities, especially in the southern Hebron Hills and the Jordan Valley, from developing economic resilience, thus intensifying poverty and despair.

The dispossession of a local population by denying access to water under various pretexts is unethical and constitutes a form of ‘ethnic cleansing’. This policy is in violation of international law and undermines any attempt to reach a political compromise in the area. Combatants for Peace is committed to putting an end to this criminal policy.

American Friends of Combatants for Peace
PO Box 27671
San Francisco, CA 94127
United States