A United Nations human rights investigator stressed in remarks made on Monday, March 18, that Israel is depriving millions of Palestinians of access to a regular supply of clean water while stripping their lands of minerals “in an apparent act of pillage.”
Michael Lynk, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said that Israel “continues full-steam with settlement expansion” in the occupied West Bank.
“For nearly five million Palestinians living under occupation, the degradation of their water supply, the exploitation of their natural resources and the defacing of their environment, are symptomatic of the lack of any meaningful control they have over their daily lives,” Lynk said. He made these remarks as he presented a report on the impact of the occupation on the environment and natural resources to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
“With the collapse of natural sources of drinking water in Gaza and the inability of Palestinians to access most of their water sources in the West Bank, water has become a potent symbol of the systematic violation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” the Special Rapporteur said.
“As of 2017, more than 96% of Gaza’s coastal aquifer – the main source of water for residents of Gaza – has become unfit for human consumption. The reasons include over-extraction because of Gaza’s extremely dense population, contamination with sewage and seawater, Israel’s 12-year-old blockade, and asymmetrical wars which have left Gaza’s infrastructure severely crippled and with a near-constant electricity shortage.”