Now Britain Helps the Water Thieves

Now Britain Helps the Water Thieves


Now Britain Helps the Water Thieves

Isareli bulldozer destroys Palestinian irrigation canal near Hebron.

The French have called it a “water occupation” against the Palestinians…

Now Britain helps the water thieves

by Stuart Littlewood

There are few crimes more despicable then stealing your neighbour’s water.and polluting what’s left, then watching him and his children suffer thirst, disease and ruin.

Most of us would want nothing to do with the perpetrators of such evil.

British Water describes itself as the voice of the water industry. It talks about best practice and corporate responsibility, and lobbies governments and regulators on behalf of its members. No doubt it does a good job.

It also has international ambitions including in the Middle East. So presumably it knows what’s going on water-wise in the Holy Land.

British Water should know, for example, that the 400-miles long structure known worldwide as Israel’s Apartheid Wall bites deep into the Palestinian West Bank dividing and isolating communities and stealing their lands and water.

Palestinians push a cart of water jugs filled from a public tap due to water shortages past a mural depicting resistance against the Israeli occupation painted on the separation wall in Aida Refugee Camp near the West Bank town of Bethlehem.

If the Wall was simply for security, as Israel claims, it would have been built along the internationally-recognised 1949 Armistice ‘Green Line’, although not even this is an official border. The Wall’s purpose is plainly to annex plum Palestinian land and water resources for illegal Israeli settlements, and to that end it closely follows the line of the Western Aquifer.

In 2004 the International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled that the construction of the Wall is “contrary to international law” and Israel must dismantle it and make reparation for damage caused. The ICJ also ruled that “all States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction”.

But the Wall marches on, aided by American tax dollars and America’s protective veto, so that Israel can wield complete control over the water resources it sees as necessary to the regime’s present and future needs. This makes the Palestinians, who sit on top of enough water to be self-sufficient, entirely dependent on Israel for God’s life-giver. Israel also consumes most of the water from the Jordan River despite only 3% of the river falling within its pre-1967 borders. Palestinians now have no access to it whatsoever due to Israeli closures.

Most of the Coastal Aquifer, on which Gaza’s inhabitants rely for water, is contaminated by sewage and nitrates, and is unfit for human consumption. Children particularly are at great risk .The aquifer is depleted and in danger of collapse. The damage could take generations to reverse, say experts.

During Israel’s deadly assault on Gaza (Operation Cast Lead) in 2008/9 over 30 km of water networks were damaged or destroyed in addition to 11 wells. A UN Fact Finding Mission (the Goldstone report) considered the destruction “deliberate and systematic”. Proper repairs have been impossible these last 3 years because Israel blocks the import of spare parts.

Palestinians must buy their own water from Israel at inflated prices

Israel reduces Palestinian water supply to a trickle in Gaza
“Thirsting for Justice” is an aptly-named campaign by the Emergency Water Sanitation and Hygiene group (EWASH, a coalition of 30 Palestinian and European humanitarian organisations, including Oxfam. It calls on European governments to put pressure on Israel to respect international law and the Palestinians’ basic rights to water and sanitation.

Under the warped arrangements of the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (1995) Palestinians are only allowed to abstract 20 percent of the “estimated potential” of the Mountain aquifer beneath the West Bank. Israel not only takes the balance (80 percent) but overdraws its sustainable yield often by more than 50 percent. A Joint Water Committee (JWC) was set up to implement the Agreement but Israel was given veto power and the final say on decisions. As a result a number of essential projects for Palestinians have been denied or delayed. To make up for part of the supply shortfall, Palestinians are forced to buy water from the Israeli national water company Mekorot, some of which is extracted from wells within the Palestinian West Bank. In other words they are having to buy their own water, and at inflated prices.

Oxfam, which is very active on the ground in Gaza, confirms The-Big-Uneasy-Gaza-Factsheet-December-2011.pdf that 90-95 percent of water from Gaza’s only source, the Coastal Aquifer, is undrinkable. At the current rate the aquifer will be unusable by 2016 and the damage irreversible by 2020.

Gaza residents are restricted to an average of 91 litres of water per day compared to 280 litres used by Israelis. 100-150 litres a day are required meet health needs, says the World Health Organization. Marginalized Palestinian communities in the West Bank survive on less than 20 litres per capita per day, the minimum amount recommended by the WHO to sustain life in an emergency.

Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are said to have full legal rights to nearly 750 million cubic metres of water but they have to make do with a trickle, or go without, while Israelis fill their swimming pools, sprinkle their lawns and wash their cars. In Bethlehem’s Aida refugee camp the water is turned off for days. When the street taps come on again, usually for a few hours, there’s a desperate scramble to refill domestic tanks and other containers before the next cut.

Water an apartheid weapon in a brutal occupation

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz last month reported on the French parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee findings on the geopolitical impact of water in confrontation zones like Israel-Palestine French parliament report accuses Israel of water ‘apartheid’ in West Bank .

According to the report water has become “a weapon serving the new apartheid… Some 450,000 Israeli settlers on the West Bank use more water than the 2.3 million Palestinians that live there. In times of drought, in contravention of international law, the [illegal] settlers get priority for water”.

Israel is waging a “water occupation” against the Palestinians, says the report accusing the Israelis of “systematically destroying wells that were dug by Palestinians on the West Bank” as well as deliberately bombing reservoirs in the Gaza Strip in 2008-09. Furthermore “many water purification facilities planned by the Palestinian Water Ministry are being blocked by the Israeli administration.”

Head of the Palestinian Water Authority, Dr Shaddad Attili, observed: “Palestinians need to be able to access and control our rightful share of water in accordance with international law. The Oslo Accords did not achieve this… Without water, and without ensuring Palestinian water rights, there can be no viable or sovereign Palestinian state.”

And not content with robbing the Palestinians of their water, the Israelis are in the habit of flooding Palestinian fields and villages with untreated sewage from their hilltop settlements.

Under the radar

British Water and Israeli R&D Centre MATIMOP Sign Landmark Water Agreement

Against this background British Water has decided to co-operate with MATIMOP, an Israeli government agency that has been ordered to enter into international agreements and “aggressively expand opportunities for Israel’s industry”.

Always eager to oblige, the UK Trade & Investment Department’s briefing on Environment Opportunities in Israel contains this advice: “Israeli companies are keen to form alliances with companies abroad, and this is where the UK can benefit. In addition, growing development and marketing costs compel Israeli environmental companies to seek co-operation with foreign partners….

“The UK are world leaders in many aspects of the environment and so the UK and Israel complement each other and have much to offer each other in this sector. Teaming up with Israeli environment companies will give UK companies access to innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. UK companies can also benefit by providing their experience in marketing and management for Israeli companies.” [my italics]

So British Water signed a Memorandum of Understanding with MATIMOP on 21 December, so close to the Christmas holidays that it went unnoticed here. The event was not even recorded on British Water’s website but it was proudly featured on the Embassy of Israel site British Water and Israeli R&D Centre MATIMOP Sign Landmark Water Agreement and treated by the Israeli press as a triumph.

MATIMOP calls it “a strategic co-operation agreement”. Its Executive Director, Israel Shamay, said: “We are pleased to be working closer with British Water than we have worked with any foreign trade organisation before. The UK water sector is well respected internationally for its world-leading capabilities, solutions and services, making it the perfect partner to help commercialise and market Israeli innovation and R&D in this sector.”

British Water agreed the text for an announcement by the Embassy of Israel but didn’t release it themselves, apparently happy for Tel Aviv’s propaganda boys to take care of it. In the press release MATIMOP says: “Israel has been coping with water scarcity since its founding.”

Yes, coping my thieving.

The Palestinians have been subjected to the longest and most brutal military occupation in modern times and are held prisoner within the fragmented remnants of their own country, unable to develop its resources or travel freely within it to find work, attend university, visit family, or worship at their holy places in Jerusalem. Is helping Israel to become a water superpower really the right thing for British Water to be doing?

Question: “EU agreements require Israel to show “respect for human rights and democratic principles” and provide for the agreement to be suspended otherwise. Does the MATIMOP agreement include similar good behaviour conditions?”

British Water: “The agreement with MATIMOP is a Memorandum of Understanding. Both parties are professional organisations with admirable aims and objectives.”

Question: “British Water will be aware that Israel illegally occupies its neighbour Palestine and has seized control of its water resources. The path of Israel’s 400-mile Separation Wall closely follows the line of the Western Aquifer and encloses key supplies. In 2004 the International Court of Justice ruled that the construction of the Wall in the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem, is ‘contrary to international law’ and ‘all States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction’. In the circumstances, should ethically-minded British companies allow themselves to become embroiled?”

British Water: “I’m not sure what you mean by ‘embroiled’ or ‘ethically-minded’. The aim of the MoU is for businesses to work together for the good of the global water industry… It’s no part of our role to exchange philosophical concepts with you. The arrangement with MATIMOP is one of commercial intent for the benefit of UK and Israeli companies…”.

Question: “Is British Water being evenhanded in this Holy Land confrontation zone? Are you offering help to the Palestinian Water Authority? Have you responded positively to the sea-water desalination project for Gaza and other programmes for West Bank towns and villages?”

British Water: “We notify our member companies of potential commercial opportunities wherever they may arise, leaving them – as they’re best-qualified – to weigh the relative attractiveness of different markets.”

David Neil-Gallacher is British Water’s CEO and also Director-General of Aqua Europa, which does the same sort of job on a Europe-wide basis. This was his parting shot:

“Regions of tension are bound to engender strong views and conflicting principles, and it’s usually notoriously difficult to discern unequivocal moral ascendancy on the part of any of those involved… In my dealings with our companies active in the region, however, I’ve never seen any evidence that they are lacking in principle or moral locus… British Water’s perspective has to be a commercial one… We do our best to conduct our activities in the best interests of our part of British industry and strictly within the requirements of the law…”

How will British Water avoid complicity with Israel’s endless oppression of the Palestinians and the deadly strife with its other neighbours in the region? Perhaps Mr Neil-Gallacher should ask one of his own member companies, Veolia, what can happen if caught up in Israeli projects that violate international law. Veolia dumps Israeli waste on Palestinian land and is helping to build and run a tramway connecting Jerusalem with illegal Israeli settlements. The company must rue the day it ‘crossed the line’ to fall foul of those nice folks at BDS (the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement).

Stuart Littlewood’s book Radio Free Palestine can now be read on the internet by visiting

Israeli sewage-dumping affects Palestinian villages

Israeli settlements have been dumping untreated waste directly into a sewage canal that runs through the occupied West Bank, affecting Palestinian villages along its banks.

The hazard posed is compounded by the dumping of toxic chemical waste on agricultural land, with villagers reporting a rash of skin diseases and respiratory problems.

The Israeli government has banned plans by the Palestinian Authority to build pipes and pumps to treat and divert wastewater away from the affected villages.

Al Jazeera’s Nisreen El-Shamayleh reports. (July 17, 2010)

Editing: Debbie Menon

The Rahnameh
February 11, 2012 – 3:14 pm
and Christians will be happy to know Israel is slopping its sh*t right into the Jordan River…

Charlotte NC Bill
February 12, 2012 – 3:48 am
Are there Christians left? Or have they all been Judaized? The best thing for the Palestinians is for all them to move to Egypt and Syria ( forget Lebanon-too many of the Christians there are more fascist than Christian ) help militarize those countries and wait for the day they can strike back with strength against those lieing, thieving, murdering Zionist SOB’s…
Charlotte NC Bill
February 12, 2012 – 3:55 am
“I just don’t get it; we massacre them, steal their land, use their children for target practice and throw our feces at them…why do they hate us?” I wish Sean Hannity could live as a Palestinian for one month..and Limbaugh and O’Reilly and Beck as well….Romney? Oh, that would be precious..

February 12, 2012 – 4:34 am

Leif Oldhart
February 12, 2012 – 2:32 pm
This is disgusting, for sure. However, it’s equally disgusting, and necessary to point out, that there is no such thing as “Britain,” because by this date and time, nation states amount to little more than slave colonies for the Jewish International Banksters.That holds true for the USA as well, as many of us here have noticed over the years.

Equally important, please stop calling Israel’s policies “Apartheid!”

Israel’s policies are outright, premeditated murder, carried out against a civilized and modern people.

Apartheid was a social policy with which you may not agree, but which was deemed necessary in order to separate an uncivilized and savage group that could not and would not (and many would agree should not) assimilate into the existing society created in South Africa by people of European descent. As you probably know, but many do not, those Blacks affected by apartheid did not originate in that region of Africa, having mostly come there after the Euros moved in and built the place up. The policy was ended by the Communists and today, the Blacks in question continue to show brutal and disgusting evidence of their lack of civilization. Currently, they are murdering the remaining Whites at an alarming rate.

Calling Israel’s policies against the Pals “Apartheid” not only slanders the South African Whites, it also belittles what is really happening in Palestine. I know that this may be an unpopular view, but it is the truth.
February 12, 2012 – 2:55 pm
Did anyone mention apartheid? The article refers to what’s popularly called Israel’s apartheid wall, that’s all. The Rome Statute definition of apartheid actually fits Israel’s racist crimes against the Palestinians (and their other neighbours) pretty well. It’s a suitable and well understood word. Why try to find another?



2 responses to “Now Britain Helps the Water Thieves


    February 11, 2012 – 3:14 pm
    and Christians will be happy to know Israel is slopping its sh*t right into the Jordan River…


  2. Fosters and NH Union Leader newspapers
    A student in Ohio writes a letter and posts it on the web, seen by many in authority but ignored. I am running for Oyster River School Board even though a court order stopped me from entering schools for the danger signs NH used to harm my character in retribution a few years back. Letters for and about other candidates are published every day. My letters are ignored, as it is clear the consequences of the harm past school boards in OR have done with freedom of press censoring opinion letters of government wrongs. How many good people are passed because editors like Rod Dougherty curtail the people’s right to know. My letters every day are published on the web but the newspapers refuse for the danger they are trying to impress on the public that I am. I am a 100% combat related disabled US Marine from the Vietnam Conflict. NH declared me a terrorist under the Patriot Act and took my freedom for 6-months before dropping the bogus charges. NH and the VA stop my medical care to impress upon me the power of government officials on citizens that do not obey. I volunteered every week in schools around the state before the court order listening and helping students just like this in Ohio. The schools have never invited me back since for the danger signs will always be there.
    The NH Supreme Court violated the Constitution to protect a brother Judge Peter Fauver. The NH SC refused to hear a case where judge Fauver used the power of the courts to let the Madbury NH selectmen use the trusted power of the people to take for the selectmen’s own profit from the local residents. This family asked me some one they had never met for help after reading a letter in the paper that I wrote. I have been told by many in law enforcement up to governor Shaheen not to write opinion letters telling of the NH SC violating the law. Hence this is why I was put in jail because I kept writing of the criminal acts of the NH SC. All undisputed documented facts presented to the NH SC by a natural born US citizen.
    I wrote a letter yesterday about the effects of expired VA medicine has on my PTSD and TBI disabilities. The psychological and embarrassment from my not being able to hear complete sentences of what others say from my loss of hearing from being blown up and blown off the runway or the unbearable pain from my broken back from another Vietnam offensive are taken there toll. Where do I go? The NH governor Lynch made me pay money to tell him of these government wrongs but we never did talk. He did take my money and give me a receipt, which I still have. I am a US Marine that came back to a society that will not accept us for what they believe we did. The smart ones commit suicide before coming back to the world that we love because they see the consequences of life back here in a civilized society we once belonged.
    A seventeen year-old student the same age as when I went off to a conflict as a US Marine writes but is ignored. Think what the citizens of NH are going to think when it comes out the Union Leader and Fosters daily democrat ignored and censored the words of a Oyster River School Board member when I am elected. The Consequences of a Ohio School should never happen if we just learn to listen.
    Peter Macdonald Sgt USMC Semper Fi
    465 Packers falls rd Lee NH 03824 603-781-3839

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