05/12/2011 06:14

Human rights group says big disparity in amount of natural resources allocated to settlers versus to Palestinians in these regions.

The Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea are the two West Bank regions most exploited by Israel, when one compares the amount of natural resources allocated to settlers versus to the Palestinians, B’Tselem said in a report issued Thursday.

B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, charged that the 9,400 settlers who live in the two regions consume 45 million cubic meters of water a year, which is almost one-third the amount used by 2.5 million Palestinians in the entire West Bank.

Some 97 percent of the water used by settlers was for agricultural purposes, according to the report, which is based on the organization’s 2008 data.

The report, however, noted that because the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea were agricultural areas, water consumption by both settlers and Palestinians was relatively high.

For example, the 80,000 Palestinians in the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea region used 31 cubic meters of water, which is 21.52% of all water consumed by Palestinians in the entire West Bank, the report said.

It warned that the extent of the disparity was much greater when one compared individual settlements in that region with specific Palestinian communities.

For example, the report stated that the per capita allocation of water to the Niran settlement, north of Jericho, was 433 liters, compared to 225 liters in the Palestinian city of Jericho.

In the central and northern Jordan Valley, the per capital water consumption for Palestinians was 61 liters, a figure almost 40% lower than what is recommended by the World Health Organization.

The worst discrepancy in water consumption was in the Bedouin community, where most are not connected to a regular water supply and the per capita water consumption was only 20 liters, B’Tselem said.

The report also charged that settlers used a disproportionately larger amount of land than Palestinians.

It said Israel had closed off 77.5% of the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea land to Palestinians by declaring it either state land, military zones or nature reserves.

The Civil Administration said it had not received the report and that it would respond only once it had reviewed the data.