Human Rights Council 48th Session
Item 7: General Debate
01 October 2021
Statement by: Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights
Madam High Commissioner,
We welcome your report and draw attention to Israel's discriminatory policies and practices against the occupied Palestinian population, particularly in access to water.
Safe, clean drinking water is essential to life. But its access is by no means a given for
Palestinians living under Israeli control.
As the occupying power, Israel’s human rights obligations vis-à-vis Palestinians include the respect, protection, and fulfillment of their right to water and sanitation without discrimination. Yet, Israeli authorities and government companies deliberately prevent Palestinians in the oPt, and especially in the occupied Gaza Strip, from accessing clean, safe drinking water.
Israel’s selective and discriminatory water allocation, solely based on racial grounds, is carried out through various means, including: the appropriation of water springs and wells located on Palestinian territory; the diversion of water sources to serve illegal settlements; and unlawful military attacks targeting water and sanitation infrastructure, most recently during the May 2021 escalation in Gaza.
Israel’s asymmetrical distribution of water between Israelis and Palestinians clearly denotes Israel's intent to discriminate against the latter group to favor the former, thus representing water apartheid.
Accordingly, we call on the members of this Council to recognize and condemn Israel’s discriminatory water policies as part of its overarching apartheid regime against the Palestinian people and to take all the necessary steps to end said policy and ensure that Israel guarantees Palestinians access to their natural resources and full enjoyment of their fundamental right to safe and clean water.