Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign
c/o BPEC 39-41 Surrey Street
Brighton BN1 3PB
February 14th 2013
Dear Mr. Wright,
Israeli company’s water meters for Brighton Residents
We note that the Israeli company Arad has a contract with Southern Water to provide £7.1 million worth of water meters annually for five years with the option to extend when the contract expires – the contract was signed in February 2010 and the meters are currently being installed.
We wish to object in the strongest terms to your collaboration with a company that is working with the Israeli government to consolidate its illegal settler occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and further deprive the Palestinian population of its fair share of the West Bank’s water resources.
Arad has installed 3,200 water meters in the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel and the Barkan settlement industrial zone. The water system is managed by the Mei Ariel Water Corporation.
Arad also develops water meters for the Israeli state – owned company Mekorot. Mekorot has a near monopoly on water supply in Israel and also operates and develops water infrastructure in Area C of the West Bank, where Palestinians are forbidden to develop even basic water infrastructure.
Palestinians living in Area C, unable to access piped water due to the restrictions on building imposed by the Israeli Civil Administration, are often forced to fill up water tanks, transported by tractor, at Mekorot’s water facilities. These fenced water facilities are often situated beside Palestinian communities and draw water by deep drillings from occupied Palestinian territory – thus drying up the traditional wells which used to supply Palestinians with water before Israel’s 1967 invasion and illegal settlement of the West Bank.
A common sight in the West Bank is a Palestinian village whose water has been taken to irrigate a neighbouring settlement. Lush settlement crops are irrigated freely and exported to European supermarkets , while the villagers have had to abandon farming their parched fields – often the only alternative is to work on the neighbouring settlement under harsh employment terms and conditions.
Water is also used as a tool in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian communities. Water is denied to these communities as a way to push them off the land on which they live and into urban centres so that their land can be expropriated by the settlements. For example, a Bedouin man from Khan Al Ahmar, where the entire community is under threat of home demolitions and forcible removal, told Corporate Watch, back in 2009, that he had to to drive a mobile water tank by tractor to Jericho and pay to have it filled up with water from Mekorot. This journey takes between half an hour and an hour. Despite the fact that the nearby settlement has several large water tanks, surrounded by strong fencing, the tents which the Bedouin live in have no access to running water and they are not allowed to use the water located right next to them. Corporate Watch visited Khan Al Ahmar in 2013 and this situation had not changed.*
In a new extensive report,** Amnesty International revealed the extent to which Israel’s discriminatory water policies and practices are denying Palestinians their right to access to water.
Israel uses more than 80 per cent of the water from the Mountain Aquifer, the main source of underground water in Israel and the OPT, while restricting Palestinian access to a mere 20 per cent.
The Mountain Aquifer is the only source for water for Palestinians in the West Bank, but only one of several for Israel, which also takes for itself all the water available from the Jordan River. While Palestinian daily water consumption barely reaches 70 litres a day per person, Israeli daily consumption is more than 300 litres per day, four times as much.
In some rural communities Palestinians survive on barely 20 litres per day, the minimum amount recommended for domestic use in emergency situations.
Some 180,000-200,000 Palestinians living in rural communities have no access to running water and the Israeli army often prevents them from even collecting rainwater.
In contrast, Israeli settlers, who live in the West Bank in violation of international law, have intensive-irrigation farms, lush gardens and swimming pools. Numbering about 450,000, the settlers use as much or more water than the Palestinian population of some 2.3 million.
The award of these contracts by Southern Water to a company which supplies water infrastructure in illegal settlements should never have occurred it is profiting from one of the most fundamental facets of the Israeli apartheid system.
We would like to meet you to put more extensive evidence of Arad’s practices in the OPT, and to discuss your company’s support for a business involved in the expansion and consolidation of illegal settlements
We do hope that you will consider the evidence against Arad, and accept our sincere offer of a meeting to discuss these issues before you make any decision to extend the period of their contract..
Brighton and Hove PSC
** Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories: Demand Dignity: Troubled waters – Palestinians denied fair access to water
Index Number: MDE 15/027/2009
Date Published: 27 October 2009
Categories: Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories
‘Lack of access to adequate, safe and clean water has been a longstanding problem for Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), principally as a result of discriminatory Israeli policies and practices. Some 180,000-200,000 Palestinians in rural communities in the West Bank have no access to running water. The water shortage has hindered social and economic development for Palestinians in the OPT and has resulted in violations of their right to an adequate standard of living, including the rights to water, food, health, work and adequate housing’.
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