RAMALLAH: Minister Mazen Ghoneim- Head of the Water Authority, met at his office today with Mr. James Wheeler -Head of the Political Section at the British Consulate General and Mr. Michel Sansour from the British David Foundation, to discuss issues related to water and the challenges posed by the Israeli side.
Minister Ghoneim welcomed his guests, and explained the importance of the cooperation between the two sides to support and develop the water sector.
Minister Ghneim explained the water situation in the Palestinian territories, which suffer from a lack of water that affects the lives of citizens. The reason being Israel's control over the water resources which deprives Palestinians from their from own water, while Israelis living in the West Bank obtain double the amount of water . He pointed out that since 1995, the Palestinian share of water has not changed, which means that Palestinians have not had an increase although the population has grown since. Minister Ghoneim, added that the Water Authority continues to ask the Israeli's to increase Palestinian water share, but thus far there has been no response. Israel also impedes the development projects that may enable Palestinians to improve the water situation, by stopping the work of the Joint Water Committee and insisting to only provide approval for the Palestinian projects if the Palestinians approve the projects of the settlements, which is totally unacceptable, since settlements are illegal and built on Palestinian lands and usurps our water and natural resources.
Minister Ghoneim also spoke about the Bahrain Canal Project - the first agreement that was signed is a pilot phase, and with regard to the Convention, which was signed between the Jordan and Israel, Palestine did not obtain the amount of water according to the contents of the agreement to date, which is supposed to be 30 million cubic meters.
There are aspects to be emphasized to ensure that there will be no future obstacles from the Israeli side to get our share of water, and in this regard, Minister Ghoneim demanded the British to intervene in order to proceed with this agreement prior to donor countries meeting early next month.
Minister Ghoneim explained that the Water Authority works in preparing and mobilizing financial funding and international support for the establishment of a Desalination Plant in Gaza, valuing Britain's support for the necessary studies pertaining to the project through the European Investment Bank and he also explained that PWA is currently working on completing the next steps by the Preparatory Committee, to be able to start the project at the beginning of the coming year.