Violations of the human right to water in Palestine

On Wednesday, 13 February 2019, at around 8:30 A.M., Civil Administration personnel came with a military-jeep and Border Police escort to a site near the village of a-Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills. The forces, which also had two crane trucks and a digger, unearthed a five kilometer stretch of pipe which was laid about two months ago to supply water to twelve communities in the area with a total population of more than 1,000. The residents previously relied on water supplied by tankers. The Israeli forces cut the pipe and confiscated it.

Israel laid water infrastructure, using the water company Mekorot, throughout the South Hebron Hills, to supply water to settlements and outposts and their agricultural projects such as dairy farms, greenhouses and vineyards. This infrastructure runs near the Palestinian villages, but, with the exception of Khirbet a-Tuwani, the Civil Administration never connected the villages to this infrastructure.

Other villages in the area have had to store rain water in cisterns or buy tanker-delivered water. The Civil Administration has issued demolition orders for many of the water cisterns, claiming they had been built without permits, even though some of them date back to the British mandate. About two months ago, residents of a-Tuwani allowed neighboring communities to connect to their water pipe, and today, Israel confiscated the pipe and cut off the water supply. Withholding the water supply is yet another step in a series of abusive measures the occupation authorities have been taking against local residents, in a bid to expel them from the area and their homes.