Cisterns, large containers built to catch and hold water, have been essential for Bedouins’ livelihood for centuries. However, the Israeli government has demolished 20 rain collection cisterns in the West Bank so far this year [see this link], further limiting Palestinians access to water resource. Israeli officials claim that a few of the demolished cisterns were located in military training zones, which would make accessing them dangerous. There is a constant water shortage in the West Bank, and there are extensive restrictions and permits required to build new water infrastructure. Without the cisterns, the Bedouin community is reliant upon expensive tanks of water that they must buy from Israel. Some Bedouins accuse the Israelis of trying to force them to move by destroying their water sources. Israel denies the claims, but does not deny that they are trying to resettle Bedouins in built communities. Israeli civil administration spokesman said, “They can't keep moving from place to place and land is limited.”
Water resources in Gaza are also scarce and susceptible to destruction. Last week a water well and water tanks were reportedly destroyed by an Israeli airstrike that also injured seven people. According to Oxfam’s weekly report, the water source served 60 people in the neighborhood. Israel denies that there was an IDF airstrike on the night that the destruction occurred. The arial attack closely followed the launch of three Qassam rockets from Gaza. Water infrastructure in Gaza has been a previous target of Israeli attacks in the coastal enclave. During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli military destroyed more than 18 miles of water networks.
Contact info for CMEP: Churches for Middle East Peace | firstname.lastname@example.org | 202-543-1222 | 110 Maryland Avenue NE | Suite 311 | Washington, DC 20002
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