Thursday, 13 November 2014

Support bedouin communities' access to water

Israeli occupation forces
confiscate a portable water tank in Al Maleh 21 June 2012 3
Israeli occupation forces confiscate a portable water tank in Al Maleh 21 June 2012 

While I was in the West Bank, I visited the Bedouin communities in Al Hadidya and Samra. The situation is just as described here by Jordan Valley Solidarity. Please read the story and help if you can. 

Ken Perrett

The majority of Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley have no access to running water and have to collect their water using trucks and portable water tanks. Until recently families in five communities in the northern Jordan Valley have been sharing a truck, but at the beginning of October it broke down. It has been repaired by a local garage, but the families are faced with a bill for 12 000 shekels (which means 2 500 euros), which they are unable to pay.

Demolition in Humsa 1 April 2014
Demolition in Humsa 1 April 2014

Al Hadidya, Samra, Mak-hull, Homsa, and Ein El Hilwe are small, but strong and steadfast communities, whose lives are lived on the principle of 'To Exist is to Resist'. They all live in tents, and have not electricity or running water. As with all Palestinians living in 'Area C' they are prohibited by the Israeli military occupation to have any permanent structures and in recent years they have all been invaded by occupation troops, which have demolished homes, animal shelters, latrines and other shelters. Their land has been designated as 'military land' and military training is frequently carried out in the area.
Whilst struggling to survive they are determined that they will not allow the occupation forces to drive them from their land. However, the cost of repairs to their truck is a major problem,  and we would like to appeal to our supporters to help pay the repair costs.

Access to water is a major problem for all these families. When they collect the water with the portable tanks they are already having to pay for the cost of the water, plus an additional fee to the water station, fuel costs and the time spent travelling. These exorbitant costs mean that most of these families use as little as 20 litres per person per day, one fifth of the World Health Organisation's recommended amount.
Israeli water tank on the hill
above Ein El Hilwe
Israeli water tank on the hill above Ein El Hilwe
Historically, people in the area would have sourced water from:
  • water wells (the occupation now controls who can dig wells and how deep they can be - by imposing apartheid restrictions on the depth of Palestinian wells they ensure that they rarely yield any significant quantity of clean water)
  • the Jordan River (which they haven't had access to since 1967);
  • local natural mountain springs (all of which have declared closed military zones by the occupation forces)
  • run off from the mountains (which requires concrete water tanks, which are systematically destroyed by the occupation)
In February 2013 the people of Al Hadidiya started to renovate a historic well, which pre-dated the occupation of 1967, so they would be able to have affordable water, but they were stopped by the occupation.
The truck is essential to them, and if you are able to help them you support will be very much appreciated.

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