20 Sep 2012 by OOSKAnews Correspondent

Israel, JERUSALEM — Palestinians say that the Joint Water Committee (JWC) is at an impasse, and that international funders of Palestinian water projects are now starting to shift their funds to other missions.

The claim was made by Palestinian Water Minister and head of the Palestinian Water Authority Dr. Shaddid Attili at the Good Water Neighbors conference in Jericho, which included representatives from Jordan, the Palestinian Territories, and Israel.

Attili placed the blame for the JWC’s failure squarely on Israel’s settlements in the West Bank. “I can’t approve something for the settlements, so they won’t approve our projects,” he said of the JWC, which only approves projects in Israeli-governed Palestinian areas through the consensus of both Israeli and Palestinian representatives.

“We are fed up. I have to face the people in the Jordan Valley. Our people in Gaza don’t have water to drink today.”

Israel’s Water Authority declined to send a representative to attend the conference last week, and could not be reached for comment. NGO Friends of Earth Middle East Israeli director Gidon Bromberg said that the Israeli Water Authority was reluctant to discuss the business of the JWC in a public forum since the JWC’s meetings are private. Bromberg encouraged a greater transparency for the committee.

The Palestinian Water Authority’s director of wastewater and chief representative at the JWC Adel Yasin accused Israel of deadlocking the committee by submitting settlement water projects for approval, which were actually under the jurisdiction of Israel’s Civil Administration.

“We don’t approve the settlement outside, so why would we approve the pipeline for the settlement? It’s a Civil Administration issue.

“Every month they are submitting one or two projects to us. They’re selected projects — sensitive projects, while they do 100 other projects without consulting the JWC. They select something just to make you stuck.”

Yasin said the delays were causing international aid donors to shift their interest from projects in water and wastewater to easier projects that did not require JWC approval, such as the construction of schools, hospitals, and roads.

The JWC was established under Article 40 of the Oslo Accords in 1995.

Source: OOSKA News