Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), has warned in a letter to the international community that the water supply in Gaza and the so-called “West Bank” will soon falter if the Palestinians continue to refuse to cooperate.
Since 2010, the Palestinian Authority has boycotted meetings of the Joint Water Committee set up under the Oslo Accords to ensure a safe water supply for all residents of this parched region.
Mordechai noted that “the Gaza Strip is almost entirely dependent on the pumping of groundwater, but due to over-pumping 96 percent of that water is unsuitable for drinking.”
Despite Israel’s efforts to improve the situation, Mordechai fears a crisis is now unavoidable. There is a plan, among others, in place to build a water pipeline from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, improving water supplies for Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians. But the so-called “Red-Dead Agreement” can not be implemented until the Palestinian Authority sign it, which they refuse to do.
According to General Mordechai, the water crisis is expected to hit next summer, barring a dramatic shift in the attitude of the Palestinian Authority.
“We will continue to promote cooperation and hope that our efforts will bear fruit,” Mordechai concluded his letter. “We call on the international community to support the renewal (of) cooperation and promoting water.”