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At the end of February, Israeli military officers destroyed the water pipeline that connects Atouf and Al Hadedeya in the Jordan Valley, and left tens of people without access to the fundamental human resource in a semi-desert area.
This is the second time military officers destroyed pipelines so far this year, and it is a common practice in other areas of the West Bank and Gaza. And while the demolition of Palestinian houses by the occupation army continues, Israel is now focusing on the destruction of water infrastructure.
“The demolition of water infrastructure increased during this year and it is a violation of the human right to water”, said Jane Hilal, Chair of PENGON – Friends of the Earth Palestine, in an interview with Real World Radio.
According to the activist, when destroying infrastructure, Israeli military officers argue that water pipelines were built without Israel´s permission. Almost all of the Jordan Valley is covered by “Area C”, where Israel retains control of security and land management, according to the division established by the Oslo Accords (signed in 1993 between then Israeli First Minister, Isaac Rabin, and the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Yasser Arafat).
But the Palestinian people know that the real reason is to eliminate their presence in those areas, said Hilal. There are no real reasons, she said. In fact, demolitions are usually accompanied of other measures, such as banning the Palestinian from areas with water supply infrastructure.
“We are trying to advocate about this situation, about the water, because water is a basic need and everyone has the right to have water in the house”, she said, and added that they working for “international people to understand the situation and how the Israeli are controlling the Palestinian water”.
The Palestinian inhabitants of the Jordan Valley are mainly farmers, and the lack of access to water affects their health and the possibility to irrigate their crops. In addition, Israeli settlements are also taken over irrigation water sources.
“We are asking as Palestinians for our right for water”, said Hilal, and demanded more work and pressure from governments for Israel to respect international treaties and human rights.
“As women, we are the ones who maintain hope. And I think that while we do this, we need to encourage many other women and tell them to dare to go out, to raise their voices, to avoid being afraid to speak. (…) Women have been told to be afraid within our social and cultural circles. (…) We are covered by a blanket of fear, but we need to move forward with a blanket of hope”, said Jakeline Romero Epiayu.
The European Union (EU) made clear this Friday in Geneva that it is ready to block the advance of the negotiations at the United Nations for a binding treaty on transnational corporations and human rights violations.
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