Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and California Gov. Jerry Brown (L) sign a pact to strengthen economic and research ties between California and Israel at the Computer History Museum on March 5, 2014 in Mountain View, California.
Israel cut off the water supply to 45,000 Palestinians this week while Prime Minister Netanyahu was traipsing across the globe signing historic legislation with the governor of my very own state, California, on — you guessed it — water conservation!
Ever since I read about the outlandish conniption fit caused by EU Prez Martin Schulz‘s address to the Knesset (he had the audacity to question the water allocation between Israelis and Palestinians) Israel’s hypocritically alleged ‘innovative water management‘ has been on my radar. But imagine my shock in reading this “innovation” was coming to my own back yard.
NBC Bay Area reports Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Gov. Brown Sign Pro-Business Pact in Silicon Valley:
During a meeting at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, the two emphasized their joint interests in cybersecurity, energy sources and water conservation, and suggested Israel — an arid country with a growing population — might be able to help California cope with its ongoing drought.
“California doesn’t need to have a water problem,” Netanyahu said. “Israel has no water problems because we are the number one recyclers of waste water, we stop water leaks, we use drip irrigation and desalination.”
Brown said he would welcome their ideas.
“Israel has demonstrated how efficient a country can be, and there is a great opportunity for collaboration,” Brown said.
Efficient? No water problems? Here’s a report Californians may not be familiar with, from March 6, by Middle East Monitor — Israel cuts off water supply to 45,000 Palestinians:
Some 45,000 Palestinians living in the Shuafat refugee camp and the suburbs of Ras Shehadeh, Ras Khamis[*], As-Salam and Anata in Jerusalem have had their water cut off for nearly three days.
The residents said Israel’s water company Gihon started by gradually reducing the water supply nearly two weeks ago until it stopped entirely.
A member of Shuafat’s popular committee; Khaled Al-Khalidi said on Wednesday that 23,000 refugees had no access to water for three days while the residents of Ras Shehadeh; Ras Khamis, As-Salam and Anata have been without water for 20 days.
Shuafat refugee camp is within Jerusalem’s municipal territory, completely surrounded by a giant wall. All access roads leading in and out of the camp are manned by Israeli checkpoints. Chen Misgav reporting for +972 says “piles of waste and garbage, the foul smell of sewage rises from every corner” of the camp and that “intervention by the municipal authorities or by government bureaus is entirely absent” which means basic services like education, water, electricity, and other public services are woefully inadequate, if provided at all.
Not only that, residents live directly across from luxurious homes in the exclusive Jewish settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev. Palestinians who live there are Israeli residents but not citizens of the state nor do they have Palestinian identity documents.
Somehow, the idea of my state entering into an alliance with Israel on energy conservation when people are denied basic services in third world squalor two kilometers from the heart of Jerusalem, because of their ethnicity, is beyond my comprehension. Imagining Gov. Brown signing this legislation knowing thousands are willingly denied water, is inexcusable. Does he know? Do Californians know?
And what about Netanyahu’s claim Israel is the “number one recycler of waste water”. Do Californians know settlers routinely dump their sewage on Palestinian villages?
Hats off to local activists who showed up to demonstrate against this ‘pact’ yesterday. Members of Stand with Us were also in attendance cheering on this alliance.
Finally, quoting from a Jewish Voice for Peace action alert that arrived in my inbox:
Sadly, he signed anyway.
* Thousands of Palestinian homes in Ras Khamis and Ras Shahada have been issued demolition orders:
Jamil Sanduqa, who chairs a local committee to develop the Ras Khamis neighborhood, said that over 15,000 Palestinians live in the buildings slated for demolition.