Israel Responds to World Bank Report on Palestinian Water Sector Development

Israel recently responded to the World Bank’s Assessment of Restrictions on Palestinian Water Sector Development (PDF) (see the press release here), in which the Bank found that “the joint governance rules and water allocations established under the 1995 Oslo interim agreement … fall short of the needs of the Palestinian people” and that “the imbalance in power, capacity and information between parties, interim governance rules and practices have resulted in systematic and severe constraints on Palestinian development of water resources, water uses, and wastewater management.”


In its defense, Israel asserted that it “has fulfilled all its obligations under the water agreement regarding the supply of additional quantities of water to the Palestinians, and has even extensively surpassed the obligatory quantity.” Moreover, Israel alleged that the Palestinians “have significantly violated their commitments under the water agreement” by drilling “over 250 wells without the authorization of the joint water commission.” Israel also claims that the Palestinians have failed to construct sewage treatment plants as required under Article 40 of Annex III to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement of 28 September 1995 and are allowing “the sewage to flow unheeded into streams, polluting both the environment and groundwater.”


In a prior post, I noted that Friends of the Earth Middle East had called for the replacement of the Joint Water Commission with a new joint water management structure, describing the current Commission as a “failed mechanism.”


In support of its position, Israel’s Water Authority also published The Issue of Water between Israel and the Palestinians (pdf), “a policy paper, prepared at the request of the Water Authority by a group of independent experts.”


In the interests of full disclosure, while I have lived in the United States for more than 30 years, I was born and initially raised in Israel.

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