There are two letters published on the issue of Israeli water use on the West Bank which came to the fore this week when a highly politicised Amnesty International report was issued on the subject. According to Jamie Hyams of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council the report was a sham:
Taking on water
AMNESTY International's report on Israeli water use on the West Bank (The Age, 28/10) is yet another example of a non-government organisation disregarding Israeli material and relying solely on Palestinian allegations to condemn Israel. Amnesty refused to hear from Israel's Water Authority. Israeli-Palestinian water policy is based on an interim agreement between the two sides, which allocates a set amount of water to the Palestinians. Israel has not only kept its side of the agreement, but has given the Palestinians more water than it is obliged to. By contrast, the Palestinians have breached their obligations by, for example, drilling illegal wells and failing to build sewage treatment plants that would make water available for agriculture, and for which they have received funding. Palestinian water consumption has, in fact, significantly increased since Israel took over the West Bank in 1967.
Israel has also frequently offered to provide the Palestinians with desalinated water. This offer is always rejected. Israelis living in the West Bank do, however, receive this water, which may help account for the discrepancies found by Amnesty.
Jamie Hyams, Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, South Melbourne
The problem is of course much more than water. It's all about politics and how to justify recalcitance on the part of one side that refuses to accept the other. Below is a letter writer seeking to justify violence because of the lies that enabled the report to see the the light of day. Another instance of theft of the truth which ultimately deprives people on both sides of their lives, which deprives children of their rights to a father or a mother. This is the sin and here is the lie -
SO ISRAEL takes most of the water now? Even in the Palestinian occupied territories. President Abbas is fed up because the US gives him and the Palestinians nothing, while Obama acquiesces to Israel's demands on settlement activity and probably the Goldstone report too. I think we are beginning to see why some people resort to futile violence and resistance. Futility breeds futility, and the blood is more and more on the international community's hands (that includes us).
Hisham Moustafa, Sandringham
* both letters can be found in the Age letters section here.