Just the Facts: Natural Resources
- Palestinians have been denied access to the Jordan River, their main surface water resource, since 1967.
- 40% of surface water pollution comes from Israeli settlements in the West Bank Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, including settlements there.
- 16 Palestinian communities are dependent on springs as their only source of drinking water.
- Access restrictions to grazing land have undermined herding and agricultural livelihoods and increased the dependency on humanitarian assistance.
- 30% of drinking water in Gaza is lost through network leaks.
- Israeli quarry companies extract 17 million tons of West Bank stone annually, almost all for the Israeli market, despite prohibitions in international law against exploiting an occupied territory.
- The transfer of Israeli industrial waste to treatment plants in the West Bank, without Palestinian consent, contributes to the environmental scarring of the occupied territory.
- In Gaza, the collapse of the coastal aquifer is contributing to a significant health crisis among two million Palestinians.
- There are 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas off the Mediterranean coast of Gaza, Israel and Lebanon. Palestine can access none of it.
- As a result, the oPt is almost completely dependent on Israel for its energy and imports 100% of its petroleum.
- Israel earns $3 billion each year from Dead Sea products, and its 15 hotels on the shore generate around $291 million.
- Israel’s national water company, Mekorot, routinely cuts the water supply to Palestinians — sometimes by as much as 50 percent — during the summer months in order to meet demand in the settlements.
- In Gaza, 95 percent of water is now unfit for human consumption due to pollution.
- Combined Israeli restrictions on agriculture cost the Palestinian economy $2.2 billion each year.
- The World Bank estimates that Palestine would boost its economy by $3.4 billion if it was able to exploit its own resources.
This week’s Just the Facts comes from:
- EWASH Advocacy Task Force‘s “Water resources in the West Bank”
- “Occupied Palestinian Territory: Humanitarian Facts and Figures” from OCHA oPt
- “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967” from OHCHR
- “Facts on the Ground: How Natural Resources Fuel the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” from Al-Haq
- Al-Haq‘s short video “How Israeli Settlements exploit Palestinian natural resources”
- The panel discussion “Environmental Justice: Exploitation of Palestinian Natural Resources”
- To go deeper, we have an extensive list of Additional Resources at the bottom of this week’s entry and we’re developing a YouTube playlist on the subject.