Israeli sentry at one of the springs
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
Jewish settlers have seized dozens of natural springs in the occupied West Bank, barring Palestinians or limiting their access to scarce water sources…
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said it had surveyed 530 springs in the West Bank and found that 30, mostly in areas where Israel retains military control, were taken over by the settlers. It added that Palestinians currently had limited access to 26 other springs where settlers had moved in and threatened to take control. The report said settlers had not encroached on 474 remaining springs surveyed.
“Springs have remained the single largest water source for irrigation and a significant source for watering livestock,” the report said, adding that some also provided water for domestic consumption in areas not connected to pipelines. “The loss of access to springs and adjacent land reduced the income of affected farmers, who either stop cultivating the land or face a reduction in the productivity of their crops,” the report said…
“Settlers have developed 40 springs as tourist sites, deployed picnic tables and benches and given them Hebrew names … It is generating employment and revenue for the settlements and it is a way of promoting or advertising settlements as a fun place,” OCHA researcher Yehezkel Lein said.
A fun place if you are thief.
In 2009 a spring named Ein el Qaws, located near the village of Nabi Saleh, was taken over by settlers from Halamish, forcing villagers to obtain their irrigation water from other sources, the report and residents said.
“The spring was used to irrigate hundreds of olive and fruit trees in the village and the children used to swim in it, now if we try to go to the spring, the settlers and soldiers come and kick us out,” said villager Nariman Tamimi.
A spokesman for Israel’s military-run Civil Administration in the West Bank said…blah, blah, blah, blah.
Except that Israel – with the support of Congress and the White House – hasn’t negotiated anything in good faith for decades. No one seriously expects them to start any time soon.