Ramadan 2016: Israel ‘cuts off water supply to West Bank’ during Muslim holy month screams the Independent’s headline. Followed by the byline “tens of thousands of Palestinians left without access to safe drinking water in sweltering heat” for effect. The accompanying photo of children holding water containers also tugs at the heartstrings.
Reading this, the average person would consider Israel to be heartless and cruel. Depriving palestinians of water, an essential substance needed to survive? And during their holy month of Ramadan of all times! Have we no hearts?!
Leaving aside the fact that during Ramadan, adult Muslims are not supposed to be drinking during the day anyway, the headline is mendacious. It states as fact something that is in all likelihood yet another blood libel – something you only learn a few paragraphs from the end.
A spokesperson for the Israeli government told The Indepedent there is “no truth” in the claims, and said the shortages were down to faulty water lines.
They said: “Several hours ago, COGAT’s Civil Administration team have repaired a burst pipe line, which disrupted the water supply to the villages of Marda, Biddya, Jamma’in, Salfit and Tapuach. The water flow has been regulated and is currently up and running.
“Any effort to connect the disruptions with terror is mistaken and misleading.
“Given the failure to develop infrastructures as a result of the unwillingness on behalf of the Palestinians to convene the Joint Water Committee (JWC), there are problems in the water supply.”
While I do not have all the facts and cannot prove who he is telling the truth here, Israel has long claimed the palestinians refuse to convene the JWC. For instance, this from February last year:
Silvan’s office said on Thursday that, according to a 1995 Interim Agreement under the Oslo Accords, water and sewage projects for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank must be approved by the JWC.
“To our sorrow, since 2010, the Palestinians have refused to convene the committee.
We’d be happy if the Palestinians would sit in the committee, which could then debate projects from both sides,” Silvan’s office said.
Be that as it may, there are two sides of the story, yet The Independent, with its misleading headline, is really giving credence to the palestinan side only.
Update: COGAT have released this footage of the burst water pipe line.
— COGAT (@cogat_israel) June 15, 2016