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OPT: Separation wall - Large-scale confiscation and destruction of water resources and infrastructure

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Contrary to worldwide news reports, the Wall (also referred to as the "fence" or "security fence") which Israel is currently building in the northeast of the West Bank, as well as in the Bethlehem and Jerusalem areas, will not mark the 1967 border, also known as the Green Line. Rather, amidst some of the most fertile land in Palestine, this latest unilateral offensive will be a further exercise in Israel's annexation of lands, destruction of agriculture and property, and violation of human rights. If the Wall is to be completed, some 10% of the West Bank will be confiscated!
In the northern West Bank, the first phase of the Wall is to be approximately 115km long and its direct effects are already seen in the Qalqilia, Tulkarm and the Jenin Governorates. Fifteen villages will be trapped between the Wall and the Green Line, while the built-up (residential) areas of at least 15 villages will be east of the Wall with a significant portion of their lands on the other side. The city of Qalqiliya, which is the urban center for the entire area, will be completely encircled by the Wall.

At least 32 groundwater wells, with an approximate total discharge of 4 MCM/year, are expected to be affected by the construction of the Wall in this first phase alone, in addition to the consequences to the agricultural lands relying on these wells. In the cases of these wells, they are to be separated from the communities and farmers dependent on them by being placed on the western side of the wall, with the communities to the east. These groundwater wells are located in the Western Groundwater Basin and were drilled prior to 1967. As a result, Palestinians will loose nearly 18% of their share of the Western Groundwater Basin.

While the Israeli bulldozers work on "concretizing" this latest land grab, water networks are being destroyed. The fear is two-fold: on the one hand, water infrastructure is being destroyed and water cannot reach communities and their land. In addition, if they are not repaired immediately and often times relocated, once the Wall is built, it is expected that there will be no way to have these networks access the areas on the other side of the Wall. Funds to make repairs and prepare for various scenarios is all too scarce, and the various expected consequences of a built wall on various aspects of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) are of deep concern.

Not to be underestimated is also the serious restriction on movement that the Wall will further, and in relation to WaSH, this implies among other things an inability to access medical care and alternative forms of water resources. No doubt, the Wall will also have severe repercussions on the unemployment and poverty levels in those areas.

It cannot be emphasized enough the fertility of the land that has been confiscated in the north and is being destroyed, also taking into consideration the continued poverty due to forcible closure by Israel on the Palestinians, translating into the fact that people's sustenance and survival depends on these lands. For a number of villages, they will loose their only source of water. Falamya, just as an example, is to loose its main source of water.

To view a map of the Wall in its first phase, click here.