Water (Illustration)
Water (Illustration)Flash90

The subcommittee on Judea and Samaria, headed by MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home), discussed water theft by the Arabs of Judea and Samaria, theft that harms agriculture and causes severe water shortages among the Jewish population, especially during the summer months.

The head of the Civil Administration, Brig. Gen. Ahvat Ben Hur, said in the discussion that "The reason for water theft is a mixture of things. There is a shortage of water during certain periods, Palestinian farmers go crazy with quantities of water they do not pay for.”

"All the theft of water is for agriculture. The great difficulty lies in our ability to deter, which is almost nil. I do not know of anyone who went to prison for stealing water. We disconnect and, the next day, they connect again. We don’t have resources on the issue of water enforcement.”

Ben Hur said that there has been a dramatic change in the whole conception of the issue of water in Judea and Samaria. "There is a master plan for 2020-2040 for Judea and Samaria and another plan for the Jordan Valley. We have given a boost to all the matters of the facilities in Judea and Samaria," said Ben Hur. “We will fix, update, and drill the facilities anew. We will build a large pipeline as part of a large master plan, and the pipeline will pass on Route 5 and Route 55. We are increasing the supply to Judea and Samaria in millions of cubic meters. And this summer looks much better than previous seasons. "

A representative of the Mekorot national water company told the committee that 9 million cubic meters of water had been stolen in the past year in Judea and Samaria, most of them in Area C and carried out by Palestinian Arab farmers. The representative elaborated that 3 million cubic meters had been stolen in the Jordan Valley, across Samaria another million and a half, and in Kiryat Arba almost 2 million.

A water officer in the Civil Administration said at the hearing, "We have made 500 disconnections only in the past year. The theft of water in the Jordan Valley is still a problem, and soon they will begin to establish the Bardala bypass to prevent theft. Now Ramadan has ended, and we have entered into extensive enforcement activity in Bardala. "

A police representative said at the hearing, "A number of indictments have been filed, but they have not yet matured. We are carrying out investigations and are trying to advance in the direction of prosecution.”

The chairman of the committee, MK Moti Yogev, said, "We are going round and round. I want to understand what is preventing progress with enforcement. Which legislative amendments are needed, which standards are missing? This situation cannot continue.”

Yogev added, "The committee is pleased to hear about the changes being made by the Minister of National Infrastructure, the Minister of Defense, Mekorot, the Civil Administration and the Water Authority. I am pleased with the master plans, with the changing approach. We will regularly continue to monitor progress in planning and execution, as well as execution of enforcement,” he promised.

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