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Sep-29-2011 14:34printcomments

Waters for Life in Palestine

After 1967, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza were denied access to most of their water resources in a calculated process to impoverish the population and destroy the economy in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Water in Palestine
ActiveStills photo by Meged Gozani

(BETHLEHEM) - From its founding Israel as an apartheid colonial power has appropriated natural resources from native people to use for immigrants imported from around the world.

Before 1967, Israel diverted waters that normally flowed into the Jordan river basin and also restricted water usage by the Palestinians who remained in what became the state of Israel in 1948.

After 1967, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza were denied access to most of their water resources in a calculated process to impoverish the population and destroy the economy in the occupied Palestinian territories. Today, Palestinian are allowed to use an average of 72 liters per capita per day versus Israeli average of 280 liters versus settlers in the West Bank average of 400 liters daily.

For some communities of Palestinians like those in area C including the Jordan Valley, the situation is worse as Israel routinely destroys their sources of water. The international community and local Palestinians are called to work together to address this system of inequality through direct positive actions.

The Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People, the Applied Research Institute- Jerusalem, and the Palestine Justice Network have jointly proposed a plan of action for activists interested in helping us to ameliorate the water situation and also challenge the Israeli policies and practices via non-violent methods of resistance. We call you to join us by:

a) Donating towards rehabilitation of existing ancient wells and cisterns. While most labor will be via volunteers and owners of the wells and cisterns, there is need for purchasing cement, gravel, ladders, and other building supplies to implement this project.  To donate, please go to http://www.pcr.ps/read/donate-pcr or http://www.imemc.org/donate and specify in your donation that it is for the "Waters for life". Other portals for receiving donations will soon be opened, and the transaction details for these portals will be forthcoming. The more money we receive, the more well and cistern rehabilitation/protection projects we will be able to perform. All collected money will be spent only on this water project

b) Coming to Palestine to help directly with your labor to rehabilitate old wells.  You can arrive at anytime but you may want to coordinate arrival for our week of action focused on land and water beginning March 30th (email to info@palestinejn.org to get details)

c) Join our international advocacy group and publicize the water situation via pressure on governments and reaching out to others via mainstream and alternative media (share any letters you write with us at media@palestinejn.org ).

To implement this project, we created a local committee composed of activists knowledgeable in the area who laid out plans not only for rehabilitation of wells but also for their protection from Israeli destruction through legal and direct action methods. A project coordinator was selected from ARIJ and donations towards this project will be set-up in a separate account in PCR.







About ARIJ: Founded in 1990, the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable development and the self-reliance of the Palestinian people through greater control over their natural resources. ARIJ has more than 19 years of organizational experience in the fields of natural resources management, water management, and environmental management. ARIJ plays an active role in the local community as an advocate for greater co-operation among local institutions as well as international and non-governmental organizations. In its capacity as a research institute, ARIJ focuses on its applied approach to projects which contribute to sustainable development, on one hand, and finding solutions to community problems, such as providing safe access to water and sanitation ; better management and utilization of land, water and other natural resources, self-reliance and empowerment of the people, on the other hand.

About PCR: The Palestinian Center for Rapprochement between Peoples (PCR) was founded in 1988. Its mission is to promote, develop and implement unarmed civilian peacekeeping as a tool for reducing violence and protecting civilians in situations of violent conflict. We work to bridge the gap between Palestinians and people from all around the world, informing the public about the reality in Palestine, and empowering the community through nonviolent direct action. Our Goals are: 1) Promote arriving at a just and peaceful Palestine, 2) Promote harmony and rapprochement within society and between societies, 3) Raise awareness Provide accurate and first hand information about Palestine, and 4) Enhance civic duty and civic responsibility especially for empowering youth, women, and for marginalized segments of our society. PCR activists co-founded the International Solidarity movement which was headquartered at PCR for the first 5 years.

About Palestine Justice Network (PJN) and Welcome to Palestine (WTP) Campaign: PJN mission is to build a global network of activists and organizations that work together in advocacy in order to support the goals set forth by the Palestinian Civil Society Call to Action 2005. WTP has hosted internationals in support of this mission and to do exploratory and support missions to Palestine for example during Christmas 2010 and the attempt to arrive by the hundreds in July 2011. See http://palestinejn.org


Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD - Popular Committee to Defend Ush Ghrab (PCDUG) "A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home. Mazin has been an Associate Professor of Genetics; Director, Cytogenetics Laboratory at Yale University School of Medicine since 1999. He previously held a similar position at Duke University. Professor Qumsiyeh has authored over 110 scientific papers in areas of mammalogy, biology, and medicine including mammalian biology and evolution, clinical genetics, and cancer research. He has published over 100 letters to the editor and 30 op-ed pieces in International, national, regional and local papers on issues ranging from politics to environmental issues. His appearances in national media included the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, CNBC, C-Span, and ABC, among others. He is the founder and president of the Holy Land Conservation Foundation and ex-President of the Middle East Genetics Association, and Prof. Qumsiyeh won the Jallow activism award from the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee in 1998. He is author of “Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle” and just published “Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment.” Visit Mazin Qumsiyeh's amazing and informative Website to learn more: qumsiyeh.org.

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