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Water Theft Plagues Hevron Region

Jews living in the Hevron region face daily water theft at the hands of their PA neighbors; thieves use as much as 75% of water.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 6/24/2010, 6:09 PM / Last Update: 6/24/2010, 6:15 PM

Flash 9
Jews in the Hevron region have faced daily water theft for some time, and in the past week, have often been left with no running water. The phenomenon is particularly common in the towns of Beit Hagai and Maalei Hever and at nearby IDF posts.

Palestinian Authority Arabs attach their own piping to water lines leading to the Jewish towns and reroute water to their own cities. Every evening, water pressure drops in the Jewish villages. Every morning, soldiers remove the pirate piping while on patrol, and water pressure is restored.

Civil Administration statistics show that approximately 75% of the water piped into Jewish villages and IDF bases near Hevron is stolen by PA Arabs before it can reach the Israeli residents. A total of 2 million cubic meters of water goes to the area each year.

Thieves do not have to steal the water from Israeli villages in order to meet their own needs, according to Civil Administration officials. The officials explained that Israel provides PA Arabs with enough water in accordance with signed agreements with PA leaders, and even goes above and beyond past treaties to supply extra water.

Hevron Hills regional council chairman Tzviki Bar-Chai sent an urgent letter to Minister of National Infrastructure Uzi Landau asking for his help in putting an end to the large-scale theft of water. “This isn't a heavenly decree,” he said, “this is the result of neglecting law enforcement, and ignoring the ongoing, public assault on infrastructure and water supply.”