Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Palestinians going without water

We hear it again and again, Hezbollah fighters hiding behind women and children, the murdered in Gaza caught in crossfire between 'Hamas terrorists' and the morally irreproachable, "we do everything to minimise civilian casualties", IDF. The perpetrators are hard done by, indeed, despite their apache helicopters and state of the art weapons, bad is good, good is bad, and the gobblydegook newspeak takes on a dimension which would do the best efforts of a Dr Josef Goebbels proud.

In today's "Süddeutsche Zeitung", under the headline "Die einen dursten, die anderen baden" ('while people go thirsty, others go swimming') there is an article, based to some extent on a report from Amnesty, on how Palestinians only have access to 70 litres of water per day, which is 30 litres less than the WHO's recommendation. The settlers on the other hand have up to 300 litres a day. Well, you can imagine the scenario; Palestinians queing up with their buckets, kettles, basins, canisters, for the available water while our zionists freaks, and these settlers are freaks, spring into their swimming pools, sprinkling their gardens and, generally, treating this, in the Middle East in particular, precious resource in a manner that we would associate with Texans and oil.

Yet, the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" is one of those "balanced"," middle of the road", mainstream papers that just has to give the other side of the argument and there we have the Israelis accusing the Palestinians of not building water treatment facilities with the money that the EU gave them, accusing them of putting sewage into the ground water; the usual trite, "it wasn't us, it's their fault" and don't they get it?  Not only are the occupying someone's land illegally, not only do they control all the water in the West Bank, not only do the indiscriminatly bomb Palestinian facilites that have been built with EU money, but the Fourth Geneva Convention also tells us that they should be treating the civilian population with respect while subjecting them to as little interference as possible.Yet here we have another crime that makes a mockery of international law; depriving the palestinians of water and then trying to tell the world that it is their fault.

One would hope that the world might wake up. However, it is not going to happen through "nice balanced reporting" a la "Süddeutsche". "Otto Normalverbraucher", the German "Joe Soap", comes home puts his feet up and thinks, "can they not even agree on the distribution of water." There aren't two sides to this argument and it really is time to stop thinking that there is. AI  knows this and Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s researcher on Israel and the OPT, states “Israel allows the Palestinians access to only a fraction of the shared water resources, which lie mostly in the occupied West Bank, while the unlawful Israeli settlements there receive virtually unlimited supplies. In Gaza the Israeli blockade has made an already dire situation worse.” Wakey, wakey, this is Amnesty International speaking here not 'Hamas', not Mahmoud Ahmijenidad, not Hassan Nasrallah, not Osama bin Laden, not some raving anti-semetic or self-hating Jew.

Of course, in order for us all to waken up, we would have to see the story and I notice that the most prominent story on Palestine on the "Süddeutsche" website is one that refers to the fact that 'Hamas' will not allow Abbas to hold elections in Gaza in January, while it looks like the story on Palestinians going without water is not available. They really don't make it easy for the one-eyed man, do they?

No comments: