Ma'an News Agency
February 1, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel has "intensified its campaign of targeting Palestinian water cisterns for destruction," Minister of the Palestinian Water Authority Shaddad Attili said Tuesday, condemning the acts.

Speaking on the 10th anniversary of the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee's 'Declaration for Keeping the Water Infrastructure out of the Cycle of Violence,' Attili accused Israel of using water to target Palestinian communities in vulnerable areas and force their departure.

"Cisterns were vital to the very survival of Palestinian communities with little access to water," the official said, adding that "the Government of Israel uses water to target some of the most vulnerable and marginalized Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank."

Tens of thousands of Palestinians living in "Area C" are not connected to a water network. For most, water cisterns serve as the only available source of water alongside water delivered in tanks, which remains prohibitively expensive.

Israeli officials have prevented the rehabilitation of hundreds of cisterns, Attili said, and "has recently intensified its campaign of destroying these same cisterns."

According to the official, the rehabilitation of water cisterns does not require prior approval from the Joint Water Committee or a construction permit from Israel's Civil Administration, the body in charge of civil affairs in areas under total Israeli military and civil control in the West Bank.

“The destruction of Palestinian water-related infrastructure is in clear violation of the 2001 Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee declaration," Attili said, calling for interested parties to help protect the Palestinian civilians, who he said "inevitably pay the highest price for [the] destruction."


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