Tomorrow the people of Bardala village, men, women, children, and animals will march to Road 90, the main road in the Jordan Valley, carrying the slogan of ‘Depriving us of Water is a Crime Against Humanity’ and ‘We are Here to Take Back our Water’. They are determined to fight for the right to water and against Israel’s water apartheid. The Right to Water campaign and the Popular Council to Protect Jordan Valley are calling on the international community to support us in our fight to take back our water.
Only two days ago, on 27th April 2017, 40 Israeli soldiers raided the village of Bardala with 4 bulldozers and informed the locals that all their water outlets will be closed. They destroyed the main pipelines that supply water to Palestinian farms, they confiscated 168 meters of steel pipes that belong to Bardala local farmers and the village.
Israeli authorities are using the theft of water as a weapon to expel the Palestinian people from their land, illegally confiscating and exploiting their natural resources.
Bardala village in Northern Jordan Valley, Palestine, is a village that depends and lives off their agricultural environment. During Jordanian rule in 1964, approximately 500 people inhabited Bardala village and in the same year the people from the village requested permission use their springs by digging wells to cultivate land. At the time, it was estimated that the wells provided around 200 cubic metres of spring water per hour for the village. Eventually the Jordanian government authorised a licence granting the village permission to construct a 67 metre deep well. The well was manufactured by the locals in the village and was operated by a diesel generator as there was no electricity during this time. The water well provided 300 cubic metres of spring water per hour.
Since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in 1967, the people from Bardala village were targeted by Israeli in an ongoing attempted to forcibly displace them from their village. However the people’s perseverance has allowed the village to overcame the hardships forced upon them by the Israeli forces until today.
During the last 60 years, the occupation government and Israeli company Mekorot constructed several wells on the village lands that are up to 300 metres deep and approximately 200 metres away from the village's original well.
In 1974 Israeli civil administration and Mekorot forced the village leader to close the Palestinian well. The people of Bardala village were left with no choice but to accept an ‘offer’ from the Israeli administration to pay them in order to receive 240 cubic metres per hour of water from their own springs. For Mekorot this was profit from the de-development and theft of Palestinian water.
In 2006 Mekorot breached that agreement. Instead of supplying the village with 240 cubic meters per hour they supplied only one fourth (60 cubic metres) of what was originally agreed. This had a disastrous effect on the land, livestock and those living in the village. The people of Bardala village had to find other alternatives to buy water often struggling for survival. Meanwhile the Israeli colonies that are encroaching on the village are supplied by Mekorot with more than 800 cubic metres of water.
As the village grew their water needs also increased. Today approximately 5000 Palestinians inhabit Bardala village. Israel not only breaches the human right to water and sanitation but, in clear violation of the IV Geneva Convention, they exploit natural resources from occupied land stealing the water from the Palestinian population that own and live on the land. Israel, through its national water company Mekorot, then uses the water to allow Israeli illegal settlement construction and expansion.
This water theft is a central element of Israeli apartheid practiced against the Palestinians. The goal of Israel is to make the lives of those from Bardala village virtually impossible, driving them out of their villages, breaking their spirit and forcibly destroying and confiscating their land.
For more about how to stop Mekorot, see: www.stopmekorot.org