Lebanon's Litani River - the Israeli aim is to steal the waters of Lebanon
The main reason that the Israelis have such an abiding interest in including southern Lebanon as a part of a Greater Israel is now becoming very apparent to the wider world as the drought takes hold in Israel and the region surrounding it.
Water has always been a highly valued commodity throughout the region and, as this year’s drought begins to bite, the importance of Israel having possession of south Lebanon up to the Litani River as part of its long-term future becomes increasingly obvious.
The Litani passes closest to Israel at Nabatiya in south Lebanon which is only some four kilometres from the Israeli border and for many years it has been the dream of the Zionists to have control of the Litani’s waters for use in Israel. The last attempt Israel made at taking the Litani River, as we know, ended in disaster for them when they were defeated by Hezbollah in 2006 despite heavy Lebanese civilian losses.
The 2006 failure of Israel to secure the Litani River for themselves was not the first time Israel had been defeated while trying to get at the Litani’s waters. When they invaded Lebanon in 1978 in an operation they actually called Operation Litani, the Israelis were forced to withdraw without removing the PLO bases that they said they were after in what turned out to be a major embarrassment to the then Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. It wasn’t until the 1982 invasion that Israel found success in occupying south Lebanon and even then they were eventually forced to withdraw in 2000 when it became obvious that they were unable to defeat Hezbollah but not before having supervised the massacres in the Sabra and Chatila Palestinian refugee camps in September 1982.
Now in 2008 the Israelis are itching to have another go at taking south Lebanon and defeating Hezbollah but this time they realise that they can’t do this without eliminating Iran and Syria from the equation; which, of course, brings us to the stand-off that Israel, the US and Iran find themselves at today.
Not only are the Israelis getting increasingly desperate about hitting Iran before Bush leaves office but there is now the added urgency securing a permanent water source as the drought takes hold in the region. As Israel runs out of water one wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the first people to suffer, of course, are the Palestinians who for nearly a month now have had their water diverted from their taps to Israeli taps.
The Israelis are getting desperate; not just because time is running out but it looks like the water is running out as well – and they can’t get to one without the other!
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Israel denies water to Palestinians in the West Bank
Friday, July 11, 2008
By: Travis Wilkerson
Per capita consumption only two-thirds of minimum needed
An Israeli human rights organization says the West Bank is facing a severe water crisis in the coming months. The B’Tselem human rights group issued a report July 1 linking the chronic shortage to Israeli policies.
Israel keeps a tight grip on the
West Bank's water supply.
A drought, the most serious in the past decade, is aggravating the ever-present water shortage in the West Bank, further exacerbating the already intolerable living conditions for the Palestinians.
According to the World Health Organization, the minimal amount of water per capita needed daily for household and urban needs is 100 liters, or just over 26 U.S. gallons.
Average per capita consumption throughout the West Bank is 66 liters, or just over 17 gallons—two-thirds of the minimal amount specified by the WHO. In the northern West Bank, consumption has dropped even more, to only one-third of the designated minimum.
In comparison, average daily water consumption per capita in Israeli cities is 235 liters, or 62 gallons. That amount is 3.5 times that consumed by Palestinians in the West Bank.
A total of 227,500 Palestinians in hundreds of towns and villages in the West Bank are not connected to a water network at all. Another 190,000 Palestinians live in villages that are only partially connected to a water network.
Even in Palestinian towns and villages that have a water network, the water supply is irregular and unreliable most of the year. Water is supplied intermittently, being available only for some hours and sometimes on a rotating basis. In distant areas, the water supply may be disconnected for days or even weeks at a time.
The B’Tselem report relates the testimony of Aminah Jabarin, a Palestinian mother of nine who lives in the West Bank town of Tuqu: "I fall asleep completely exhausted from effort and worry. It hurts me to see my boys hauling bottles long distances to fill them up, especially on hot days. Worrying about water has become a nightmare, so much so that if you ask me what I want most, I would say water in my house all the time."
As an occupying force, Israel is required under international humanitarian law to ensure public order and safety in the occupied territory, without discrimination. In addition, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Israel is a signatory, ensures access to clean drinking water without discrimination.
In flagrant violation of these laws, Israel holds complete control of the water sources shared by Israel and the Palestinians, primarily the Mountain Aquifer, and prohibits by army order any Palestinian drilling of wells without a permit. Israel allocates to Palestinians only 20 percent of the water from the Mountain Aquifer, and prevents the development of additional water sources to enable greater water supply for Palestinians in the West Bank.
More importantly, however, the water shortages lay bare the colonial character of Israel. The Palestinian people have no sovereignty over a resource as basic as water in their own land. Access to this life-sustaining necessity is subject to the whims of the Israeli colonial state. In that context, unapologetic disregard for international law is just one of the many perks accorded to an occupying force that has the full backing of U.S. imperialism.
A kinder water policy from Israel would do nothing to change what is, in essence, a colonial relationship. Palestinians must be given full control of their land, natural resources and infrastructure. The racist character of Israel will begin to erode only when all Israeli aggression against the West Bank and Gaza is ended and the Palestinian people secure the right to return throughout all of historic Palestine.
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Litani River and Israel-Lebanon
Water As A Conflict Issue in South Lebanon
© 2008 Damian Lataan