July 9, 2016 - 17:32 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The Israeli Water Authority has crafted a master plan to double the amount of water supplied to settlements and Palestinian towns in the West Bank, not including the Jordan Valley, by 2030. But implementation is being held up in the absence of political approval to link Palestinian cities to the expanded new infrastructure, Haaretz reports.
All this has become clear in last week's meeting of the Judea and Samaria affairs subcommittee of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
The Water Authority has no executive power in the West Bank, leaving the Civil Administration to carry out the master plan. The committee members were told that the Civil Administration was the agency that demanded that the master plan include certain Palestinian cities. But again, government directives are needed.
The chairman of the subcommittee, MK Moti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi), has repeatedly said the delay affects Israelis and Palestinians alike, and that solutions must include both populations. Others have expressed similar sentiments, including officials of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories as well as the Civil Administration.
But Yogev’s party colleague, MK Bezalel Smotrich, said that if everyone is suffering from water shortages, Israelis’ needs should be met first, someone who attended the meeting told Haaretz.
The subcommittee was hurriedly convened last Monday in order to discuss the scarcity of water in certain settlement neighborhoods and unauthorized outposts. These communities have been suffering from cuts and supply disruptions since the end of June, according to media and social-media reports.
Some participants at the meeting said the summer shortages were happening for the second year in a row. A farmer from one settlement said that for a third season he can’t sufficiently irrigate his crops.
The committee urged government agencies to speed up implementation of the master plan and not suffice with short-term solutions such as sending water tankers to settlements, or mid-term solutions such as improved maintenance, the cutoff of illegal hookups and ad hoc solutions. Implementation of the master plan is urgent in light of the projected growth of settler numbers in Samaria to 450,000 from 250,000, said Yigal Lahav, the head of the Karnei Shomron Regional Council.