Jerusalem 24 – Israeli authorities today handed a number of local councils in the Salfit governorate notices for the seizure of thousands of dunums of agricultural lands belonging to Palestinian residents in the area for the benefit of constructing a water pipeline that serves two illegal settlements in the area.
Mayor of Salfit, Abdallah Kmail said the order notified for the expropriation of thousands of dunums of Palestinian-owned agricultural lands for the construction of a 15-kilometers-long water pipeline that would serve two illagl settlements in the area. The pipleine would run through five towns and villages in the Salfit governorate, subsantially damaging the lands.
The mayor stressed the need to promptly move at all official and popular levels to confront this Israeli judaization scheme, calling upon all local bodies to communicate with the affected residents to prepare the necessary papers to file an objection at the Wall and Settlement Resistance Authority and the competent authorities.
The establishment of settlements in the West Bank violates international humanitarian law, which establishes the principles applying during war and occupation. Moreover, the settlements lead to the infringement of international human rights law, said the Israeli information center for human rights in occupied territories, B’Tselem.
“Israel uses the seized lands to benefit the settlements, while prohibiting the Palestinian public from using them in any way. This use is forbidden and illegal in itself, even if the process by which the lands were taken were fair and in accordance with international and Jordanian law. As the occupier in the Occupied Territories, Israel is not permitted to ignore the needs of an entire population and to use land intended for public needs solely to benefit the settlers,” it said.
“In 1967, Israel seized control of all water resources in the newly occupied territories. To this day, Israel retains exclusive control over all the water resources on the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea,” said B’Tselem.
“Israel uses the water as it sees fit, ignoring the needs of Palestinians in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip to such an extent that the two areas suffer a severe water shortage,” it said.
“In both areas, residents are not supplied enough water. In Gaza, even the water that is supplied is substandard and not potable,” added B’Tselem.
“The right to water and sanitation is a fundamental human right enshrined in international conventions of which Israel is a signatory. Israel is therefore obligated to uphold this right in all territories under its control,” said the human rights center.