Water wells destroyed as Israel closes Palestinian Territories
May 20th, 2003
Following the recent complete closure of the Gaza strip, Israel yesterday closed off the West Bank as well, following suicide bombings over the last few days. But this kind of action by Israel is nothing new. The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories has been deteriorating at an alarming rate since 2001 and this closure can only make worse what is already a humanitarian catastrophe.
Richard Burden MP, Chair of the All Party Britain Palestine Group, said:
“The suicide bombings over the last few days are appalling and should be condemned, as should violence against civilians from whatever quarter. But Israel’s collective punishment of all Palestinians is not the way forward to peace. Poverty levels in the Gaza strip are similar to those in sub-Saharan Africa with almost three quarters of Palestinians now living on less than US$2 a day – below the United Nations poverty line.”
Following the destruction of a well in Beit Hanoun, Gaza, by Israeli military forces on April 26th, Mr Burden tabled a question in Parliament. In his reply, International Development Minister, Hilary Benn, said:
“The destruction of infrastructure as a result of Israeli military activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is adversely affecting public services, including water and wastewater. In addition, closures and curfews imposed by the Government of Israel mean that Palestinian maintenance crews are unable to conduct necessary routine maintenance and water tankers are unable to service Palestinian communities without networks. This has left many Palestinians without access to reliable water supplies for extended periods of time and is leading to concerns about public health in affected areas.”
Mr Burden said:
“Closures, curfews and the destruction of infrastructure in Palestinian areas all disrupt economic activity and it has to stop.”
NB: Det kan tilføjes
– at Richard Burden er MP for Labour
– at Beit Hanoun er en af de landsbyer, hvor der en kvindeklub arbejder med støtte fra Venskabsforeningen. Den blev besøgt i forbindelse med projektrejsen i marts 2003.