This is a blog that will focus in the weeks and months and hopefully years to come, on setting the record straight. It is natural, in any conflict, for one side to claim the other party is at fault. This is the way of humanity. Each person, each society, sees its own needs and will place those needs above others. When the needs require twisting facts and lying, it is time to set the record straight. That is the goal of this blog.
Our first story is comes from a minor report issued by Palestine Solidarity Campaign member, Joanne Moston, who chose to play with the truth by writing that Israel had cut the water to Bethlehem. One could argue that Joanne was simply misguided, rather than intentionally attempting to mislead, but note her ascertain below that, “There is NO WATER IN THE CAMP!” and her conclusion that this is a breach of human rights. After her initial claim, it was carefully investigated and proven to be completely false. Israel did NOT cut the water to the residents of Bethlehem – in fact, the municipality, under the complete control of the Palestinian Authority cut the water.
Not one to readily admit she was wrong, Ms Moston went on to attempt to correct part of her mistaken claim…by twisting reality yet again to find some way, some desperate means to blame Israel for something. That after all, is clearly HER agenda. Take a moment to read Joanne’s initial claim, the evidence that was presented to her, and her attempt to place spin on her original claim. After doing so, one can only conclude that her personal agenda so blinds her to the realities of the situation as to make her all but useless as anything but a mouthpiece for whatever words are put in her mouth. One wonders if Joanne even understand the concept of justice…or peace as she claims to so desperately want. Certainly, she doesn’t understand the concept of investigating claims before asking people for money.
Ms Moston’s original call to arms:
I had a text message from my friend in Deheisheh camp, Bethlehem, today, and heard that the water in the camp has been turned off now….by Israel….for 10 days. There is NO WATER IN THE CAMP! I don’t know about elsewhere in the West Bank, but for sure other places will be affected.
Is there anything that we can do from here? I have told him to buy a tanker load, which costs 300 NIS which he hasn’t got, ( £37.50 ) so I have arranged a loan from a money changer for him to order 2 tankers, so that his family have water, and there will be enough to share with is neighbours. The temperature has been over 40 C for the past week or so. Surely this is a breach of human rights, apart from the fact that the Palestinians have to pay 4 times as much as the Israelis for water, and it is their own water, from under the West Bank that they are paying for. Am I angry?? YES I AM!! Perhaps I should send this to our new envoy for the Middle East!?
Ms Moston was sent the following letter:
Following the claim that water has been “cut off”, a spokesman for the
Co-coordinator of Civilian Activities in the Territories had the following to
a) Israel – i.e. the Coordinator in the Territories is not aware and
does not know of any suspension in the water supply to Dehaisha.
b) The claim that water supply has been cut has been checked with both the Palestinian Authority and with UNWRA. Neither are cognisant of any problem.
c) Dehaisha and the rest of Bethlehem is located in Area “A” in which the Palestinian
Authority is totally responsible for all civilian matters including the regularity of water supply.
d) Israel’s responsibility to supply water stops at the municipal boundary.
e) Water supply and distribution of water within Bethlehem including Dahaisha [as well as in the other Palestinian towns located in Area A] is not in Israel hands.
f) Under the Interim Agreement on Self Government, Israel is responsible for supplying a 4% increase in the amount supplied last year. In reality, Israel has supplied 20% in excess of last years supply.
g) There is a very high probability that the infrastructure in Bethlehem and Dehaisha is defective or has been tampered with. Experience in Hebron has shown that water losses amount to 40% of the amount supplied- due to leakage resulting from a lack of infrastructural maintenance and more significantly by water theft. Holes are made in the supply pipes and water is drained off by the inhabitants in order to avoid paying for the water consumed.
h) Water wells around Bethlehem have been approved and supply pipes
have been laid.
i) There was indeed a cut in the water supply for a couple of days to a small Palestinian settlement near Nablus (Shehem). This was caused by deep -ploughing which punctured the underground supply line and the farmer responsible covered up the damage- leaving the Israel Water Authority to discover where the leak was- which took time.
j) Israel also supplies water to Gaza well in excess of anything they are entitled. Gaza is served by wells in the Gaza aquifer and this has been over exploited by the Gazansk) There has been wildcat drilling of the order of 100’s of illegal wells.
l) In contrast to Israel- the Palestinians DO NOT RECYCLE THEIR WASTE WATER.The Israel settlements in the Gaza strip which Israel vacated 2 years ago already, each had a water recycling plant which was left in good order. Not a single plant is in operation since Israel’s withdrawal
m) Waste water and sewerage is left untreated within the West Bank and Gaza and is allowed to percolate into the ground causing pollution to the ground water.
Not one to readily admit her error, it seems, Ms. Moston did not respond directly to the people who took the time to explain how wrong she was. Instead, she sent the following note to her colleagues:
To all concerned re WATER in Deheisheh Camp.
I have had a long conversation with a friend in Deheisheh Camp, to find out
the exact situation so that I can pass it to anyone who has shown concern about
1. I know I said the water was turned off by ‘Israel’ and that is how the people there see it, because the water is controlled by Israel, and it is never enough, and is often cut duing the summer because it’s hot, and this year during the past few weeks there has been a heatwave. However, the water has been cut off for 16 days in total, and IT CAME ON AT 1AM THIS MORNING! Because it had been on for 3 days some of the inhabitants of the first 2 rows in the camp, had some water, so it did go quickly to the 3rd and other rows. The water was turned off by the Bethlehem Municipality, as I said previously, in order to ration it. Yes, there are problems with the infrastructure, because funds have been cut to Palestine, because they voted for the ‘wrong people.’!!! If the water supplied by Israel is not enough, so it has to be rationed / or cut off, it would obviously be seen to be done by Israel as they are in control of it….although the municipality had their hand on the tap!
2. UNWRA did know about the lack of water in the camp, though they seem to be denying it.
3. It is very likely that the pipes are damaged as the road has often been severely damaged by tanks. Apparently there has been a recent problem with supply in parts of Bethlehem due to structural damage. This happend here in Britain…millions of gallons lost due to leaks, but one section of our population does not have their water turned off for 16 days. I am making no apology for publicising my concern about the water cuts. It happens every year in summer, and is considered a war crime for an occupying force to deprive anyone of water, though is is ‘indirectly’ in this case. My concerns are purely humanitarian. I don’t want people to suffer by deprivation of everyones right to water, food and shelter. If I can do anything to help those people, I will. Now they have water….until the next time, in 2 or 3 wks, when it goes off again. I have been buying water in tankers for some years now, but this year it was a much worse situation. Thank you to all those who have sent donations so that I could authorise a supply in tankers. Every penny sent, will be used for water bills, this time, and any over will be kept for next time this emergency occurs.
Praying for Peace with Justice, Joanne
So, here we are to help by SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT.
No, Israel most definitely did NOT cut the water to Bethlehem.