Last updated: 26 March, 2014

East Jerusalem residents petition Israel court for water

Palestinians in annexed east Jerusalem have petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court over alleged negligence that has cut water supplies to tens of thousands of people.

The petition, filed jointly with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel NGO, says that many homes in the Shuafat refugee camp have “either no water at all, or water pressure so weak that it stops periodically.”

ACRI held the Israeli authorities responsible for the three-week water shortage, calling in the petition filed Tuesday for immediate action to get supplies flowing again.

“The responsibility for setting up provision of water falls on the authorities. They haven’t created a (sufficient) water infrastructure in the area,” ACRI spokesman Marc Grey told AFP.

“The petitioners demand that the responsible authorities (including) the Jerusalem municipality, take all necessary action to ensure that (Jerusalem’s water supplier) Hagihon supplies running water to all the homes in the area,” ACRI said in a statement.

The problem was the “latest and perhaps most acute example of the authorities’ neglect of the neighbourhoods,” located on the other side of the separation barrier Israel has erected around much of Jerusalem, ACRI said.

The water infrastructure in those Palestinian areas can support 15,000 people, but the population is estimated at between 60,000 and 80,000, it said.

Hagihon said in a statement that security concerns were preventing it from carrying out its maintainance work properly in the areas in question.

It cited “security problems (including employees needing to have a police escort) and frequent attacks against infrastructure,” such as the illegal syphoning-off of water from certain points along the mains supply.

Israel captured Arab east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War, and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.