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In the Middle East water is more important than anything else. Without a reliable supply, life simply isn't possible. In ...
the Israeli occupied West Bank, the balance of power is played out in the allocation of water rights between Jews and Palestinians.
Tags:Rainwater Conflict Between Israel and Palestine,earth report,rain water reservoirs in palestine,television for the environment,tve,water conflict in israel and palestine
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Rainwater Conflict Between Israel and Palestine
Narrator: Water may not cause outright wars between nations. But it can pit neighbor against neighbor and community against community. The real wars over water is quietly taking place at local level while water can be use as a powerful military or political tool. In Israeli occupied West Bank, the balance of power is played out to the allocation of water rights between Jews and Palestinians.
Kayed Jober is a Palestinian farmer. For generations, his family clan have farmed to most of this valley. They rely entirely on rainwater for irrigation.
Kayed Jober: Rainwater is sent to all the people black and white alike. But it seems in Israel, it belongs to the stronger.
Narrator: Kayed’s cousin Ismael lives on the neighboring farm. Kayed and Ismael grow fruit and vegetables for the local markets but there is a serious water shortage.
Male: The best thing you can do if you farm in this area is -- drop of rainwater and store it for farming.
Narrator: The family rely on ancient system of covered reservoir is to store and collect rainwater. But these are no longer big enough to cope with today’s demand. They are now building bigger reservoirs. But the Israel authorities wanted to destroy them. Israeli settlers are moving in an ever greater numbers to lands farmed by Palestinians such as the Jabes. Since the 1967, Arab-Israeli conflict, the population of Israel on the west bank has more than doubled. As numbers increased, competition for lands and water is causing friction between the communities. The Israeli settlement across the valley is like another world, seemingly oblivious to their neighbor’s water shortages.
Ha Etzni: When we came in 1972, no -- this is a swimming pool heated all the year because this is 1000 meters above sea level.
Narrator: Jeff Halper left his native America 28 years ago to settle in his spiritual homeland Israel. Since then, his views about Israel have radically changed. Today, Jeff is a human rights activist camping on behalf of the Palestinians.
Male: We heard that the Israeli army is destroying the reservoirs of some Palestinian farmers in this fairly arid dessert area near Hebron. So now we are driving from Jerusalem going down into the dessert to see what is going on.
Narrator: -- Ismael’s farmlands, the army is preparing to move in under the civil administration’s orders to destroy the reservoirs. Kayed’s reservoir is the first big task by the army bulldozers. Jeff arrives to support the Palestinians case to keep their reservoirs.
Jeff Halper: The Israeli settled in here, gets as much water as they want living in a European level whereas the Palestinians, especially the farmers get very little water and they try simply to capture rainwater, the reservoirs they build get demolished.
Narrator: The civil administration is destroying the reservoir on the grounds that it is illegal.
Peter Lerner: The reservoir that was built without a permit that is why it is demolished. The people illegally break upon the main pipelines serving only the city of Hebron and the water flows in people’s farms.
Jeff Halper: Why won’t they do what really farmers do? Why won’t they turn on the tap and irrigate their fields. Why won’t they turn on the tap and have water for kids? Because they cannot do it, because they do not have the water, Israel allocates every drop of water.
Peter Lerner: They dig out everything that surrounds it and then they drill into the main water pipe that draw into the main water pipe, connect to the tap and then they take another pipe and send it out to the fields usually. And this is why we have green fields with some waters which need a lot of water.
Male: But this might not -- is it?
Peter Lerner: Now this one is not broken because this is an older one.
Male: We told them we would not pass thereby and that we would wait for God to give us rain. The reservoir is empty and it has not rained.
Narrator: Jeff decides to take matters into his own hands.
Jeff Halper: This act is against Israeli law. It is against international law. It is against human law. I am embarrassed. I accept painfully as an Israeli I am embarrassed and mortified that this is the way we behave towards other people.
Male: They get up in the morning you take them to destroy the wells of poor Palestinian families. That the dehumanization. The occupier does not win because in the end you end up destroying yourself.
Narrator: Jeff is bundled into an army vehicle and taken off to jail.
Male: The army commander did not stop at destroying the reservoir. He even destroyed the foundation. He claims to -- I want to destroy your future and kill the future of your children.
Narrator: The destruction of Kayed’s reservoir is completed. The bulldozers make their way to Ismael’s reservoir and start ripping it down.
Ismael believes that the destruction of his reservoir is merely part of a bigger plan by the civil administration.
Male: These are just excuses. The phrase -- we just don’t want to do it.
Narrator: We decided to live Israel and come back three months later to see how the situation would develop. The things had gone downhill. The civil administration had ordered Ismael and his family off their land.
Male: Since your last visit, I have received a demolition notice in my house. I hope to God, almighty that my house will not be demolished for the sake of my family. We have taken farmland over there, double the petrol -- for the Jewish settlers.
Male: We believe that this type of living should be in the whole country. Across this valley, this beautiful valley of the vineyards and other gardens, you have the other part of -- in the not distant future, we should live there as we grow.
Male: When you see injustice being committed, there is great sense of outrage. So when I go out. I see the powerful Israeli army, destroying the reservoir of a poor Palestinian farmer, I want to take some of the civil administration people and the soldiers and just shake them and say, how can you do this as people?
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