Amnesty says Israel curbing water to Palestinians | World | Reuters

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Human rights group Amnesty International said in a report on Tuesday that Israeli restrictions prevented Palestinians from receiving enough water in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The report said Israel's daily water consumption per capita was four times higher than that in the Palestinian territories.

"Water is a basic need and a right, but for many Palestinians obtaining even poor-quality, subsistence-level quantities of water has become a luxury that they can barely afford," said Amnesty's Donatella Rovera.

A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed Amnesty's statement that Israel was depriving the Palestinians of water as "preposterous."

Israel says it has met its obligations under the 1993 Oslo agreement while Palestinians have failed to meet their own requirements to recycle water and were not distributing water efficiently.

"Israel supplied Palestinians 20.8 million cubic litres above and beyond what it is obliged to do under the water agreement," said Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev.

Israel, itself facing unprecedented water shortages and rising tariffs, controls much of the West Bank's supplies, pumping from an aquifer that bridges Israel and the territory.

Israel sells some water back to the Palestinians under quotas agreed in the Oslo accords that rights groups say have not been increased in line with population growth.

The report said Gaza's coastal aquifer, its sole fresh water resource, had been polluted by infiltration of seawater and raw sewage and degraded by over-extraction. Continued...