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Israeli forces destroy water pipeline serving Bedouin villages in northern West Bank

Jan. 10, 2017 12:00 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 10, 2017 4:35 P.M.)
(File)
TUBAS (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces destroyed a pipeline supplying water to four Bedouin communities in the northern Jordan Valley, a Palestinian official said on Tuesday morning.

Muataz Bisharat, who monitors settlement-related activities in the Jordan Valley, told Ma'an that bulldozers under Israeli military protection destroyed part of an 11-kilometer water pipeline supplying the villages of al-Ras al-Ahmar, al-Hadidiya, Khirbet Makhul, and Khirbet Humsa.

Bisharat added that the pipeline was funded by international NGO Action Against Hunger four years ago.

A spokesperson for Israel's Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), which is responsible for implementing Israeli government policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the incident.

Forming a third of the occupied West Bank and with 88 percent of its land classified as Area C -- under full Israeli military control -- the Jordan Valley has long been a strategic area of land unlikely to return to Palestinians following Israel's occupation in 1967.

Demolitions of Palestinian infrastructure and residences occur frequently in Area C, with Bedouin and herding communities being particularly vulnerable to such policies.

As of Dec. 26, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated that Israeli forces had demolished 870 Palestinian structures in Area C in 2016 -- compared to 453 in 2015.

In August, Israeli forces had demolished another pipeline funded by Action Against Hunger in the northern Jordan Valley.

Nearly 200,000 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank do not have access to running water, according to Amnesty International.

Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq stated in a 2013 report that just half of Palestinian proposals for wells and improvement projects to the water network were approved by Israel between 1995 and 2008, compared to a 100 percent approval rate for Israeli projects.

According to EWASH, Palestinians in the West Bank have access to an average of 70 liters of water per day, below the World Health Organization's recommended minimum of 100 liters for basic sanitation, hygiene, and drinking.

Meanwhile, Israelis, including settlers, have access to 300 liters of water daily on average.
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