February 13, 2014 – Following Comments on Water by President of EU: Clarifications by EcoPeace

FOLLOWING COMMENT ON WATER BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT IN THE ISRAELI KNESSET: CLARIFICATION BY ECOPEACE / FRIENDS OF THE EARTH MIDDLE EAST

February 13, 2014

Following events in the Israeli Knesset yesterday, where a comment by the President of the European Parliament Mr. Martin Schulz, saying that Israelis enjoy a water supply 4 times the supply of the Palestinians, drew outraged responses, EcoPeace Middle East, an organization dealing for the past two decades with regional water and environment issues, would like to provide some facts that will shed light on the issue:

According to Gidon Bromberg, Israeli Director of EcoPeace Middle East, “It’s a pity that such an opportunity to discuss an issue that is so relevant to the everyday lives of both Israelis and Palestinians has become a political circus. Water and environment have been held hostage to the political stagnation, whereby the interim water agreement signed in 1995, that was supposed to be replaced after 5 years, remains operational despite the near doubling of populations and dramatic changes in technological innovation”.

The issue is complex, but according to our best analysis the municipal water consumption per capita per day in Israel in 2011 was 250 liters, while among Palestinians in the West Bank, after taking into consideration an average loss of approximately 30% of the water – due to theft and lack of infrastructure – it was 70 liters. The data is indeed not even close to the 17 liters per capita per day reportedly mentioned by Mr. Schulz, but the relation between the consumption of Israelis and Palestinians is indeed close to 4 times.

However, the higher availability of water resources in Israel is also the result of Israeli leadership in water management.

At a time when the Israeli water economy has excess water, much due to desalination, solving the water issues comes at a low political cost to Israelis and with high political gain to Palestinians. Thus it is imperative that the framework agreement, as led by Secretary of State Kerry, include a paragraph on the urgency to resolve shared water and environmental issues in a manner that would replace the failed existing water management structure (the Joint Water Committee) with a new structure that provides Palestinians with a rightful share of shared waters, and leads to rapid investments in sanitation solutions that are currently responsible for polluting scarce Israeli and Palestinian sources of natural water.

For more information: please contact Gidon Bromberg at 052-4532597, [email protected]