18 February 2014

The water proof: the facts, the myths and other animals

The main difference between a cat and a lie is that a cat only has nine lives.
Mark Twain
I wouldn't have posted anything on the subject, even after a somewhat shameful and over the top demonstration by Naftali Bennett and other members of his party. If you remember, the occasion for this demo was a misguided and uninformed remark by the European Parliament President Martin Schulz during his speech in Knesset.
In the Knesset - which German politicians have addressed before in their native language - Schulz said a Palestinian youth had asked him why Israelis received four times as much water per capita as Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

"I haven't checked the data," Schulz told the Knesset. "I'm asking you if this is correct."
And here comes the core problem. It is not only that Mr Shulz was misinformed, it is that the lies, promoted and so frequently repeated by the Palestinian propaganda and amplified hundredfold by their collaborators in the Muslim and Western media, become a de facto gospel even for people who, as Martin Schulz himself, are said to be the best friends of Israel ("An EU source who declined to be named said it was hard to find a more pro-Israeli politician in Europe than Schulz"). Just imagine what goes on in the minds of people who are not very pro-Israeli or what is done with these lies by the anti-Israeli crowd...

In this regard it is worth to mention an exceptionally positive article Israeli Water, Mideast Peace? in NYT. It is not every day that one sees such text in normally "critical" toward Israel media outfit. Besides mentioning the assistance with water sources and desalination Israel provided to pre-Ayatollahs Iran, the author delves into the current issues, such as the dire situation in the Gaza strip:
Because of geography and hydrology, the Palestinians’ water future is closely tied to Israel’s. In just the few years of Hamas control of Gaza, the water supply there has been polluted, and though no solution to its coming water crisis is likely without an Israeli role, Hamas has refused to cooperate with Israel.
And he makes a tentative step toward describing the general situation in the West Bank:
The Palestinians in the West Bank already receive much of their water from Israel’s national water utility and, sovereignty and symbolism aside, neither a two-state solution nor a continuation of the status quo will change that. Given their proximity to Israel, the Palestinians are likely to be among the few Arab winners in the water race.
However, the article shies from going too deep into the main issues. So, to seek some help with the truth of the matter, let's take a look at a thesis* titled ‘The politicization of the Oslo water agreement’ written by Lauro Burkart a Swiss graduate of the Institute of International and Development studies in Geneva. The full text of the thesis could be found here. This article summarizes the main points:
The goals of the Oslo 2 water agreement have been reached regarding the quantities of water provided to the Palestinian population (178 mcm/year in 2006). The Oslo water agreement estimated that the needs would eventually be 200 mcm a year. The Joint Water Committee functioned well in the first years following signature of the agreement, but since 2008 cooperation has come to a halt

The facts disseminated by the Palestinians, international organizations and donors about the root causes of the water scarcity in the West Bank are incorrect.
Of course, dirty politicking is at the heart of the matter:
Burkart also interviewed Dr. Shaddad Attili, head of the PWA who was appointed in 2008. Attili, a Fatah member, is responsible for the de facto ending of the cooperation with Israel in order to bolster the Palestinian water rights claims. He did this to strengthen the position of Fatah after the Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections.
Dirty is the word that best of all describes the waste water and the lack of treatment it receives from the "Palestian Authority":
One of the results of the refusal to cooperate with Israel is that almost all of the 52 mcm waste water generated by the Palestinian population flows untreated into Israel and the West Bank where it contaminates shared groundwater resources. Nevertheless, the Palestinians claim that Israel is blocking their waste water infrastructure. The facts are that most of the Palestinian waste water treatment and reuse projects have already received foreign funding and were supported by Israel.
Read the whole article, I shall end the quoting at this conclusion:
It is obvious that Attili’s non cooperation strategy is connected to the overall change in strategy vis-à-vis Israel in 2008 by the PA. Water has become a weapon against the so-called Israeli occupation.
What else? Probably only this quote:
A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

Winston Churchill
(*) Israeli sources are not used on purpose.

Hat tips: Caitlyn Martin and E.S.


SnoopyTheGoon said...

Excellent post! Thank you!

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Thanks, and you are welcome.