The community of Avigail in the southern Hevron Hills has faced repeated acts of 'water terrorism.' Arutz Sheva spoke to Tzik, the village secretary, to discuss how the village copes with this phenomenon on a day-to-day basis.
At the start of his remarks, Tzik clarified that the problem has not only returned, but has spread "to the entire eastern route of Mount Hevron, from Susia to Carmel. We've had real problems these last few weeks. Farmers need a lot of water mainly during this period and they are constantly stealing water from the line in a very sophisticated way, below the ground."
"They steal from the water pipes' sources, and in the end the sources can't supply enough water for our situation in which they steal while we have an increased need for water. The result is that residents are without access to water for certain hours.
"In Abigail, the distress is more acute because the water tank is smaller and we still cannot fill the water tank. So every time the water stops we have a water curfew," Tzik said. "There is no water in the faucets. It starts in the higher-up houses, and within a few minutes the whole community does not have any water. There are currently three water cisterns in the settlement to fill the drinking water, but the taps do not have water."
"The bottom line is that we can tell about what we have been experiencing in the past few days: Yesterday we understood that there are many thefts," he said, adding that " They put in a camera and found three pirated connections from which a Palestinian steals water and set up a factory to sell water from the sources."
"They cut off the three water sources, and today as a "retaliatory action," he arrived in the middle of the night and closed the main line. He broke into the front box and rigged the line with a few points so that when they opened the water when they realized there was a problem the water came out. In the meantime we cannot tell if he has already made a new connection. I believe that he has, but it is not clear yet.
"There is a rise in their level of daring here when they say that they will not allow us to harm the theft of the water they are carrying out and if we do something they will harm the line," said Tzik, stressing that this issue also has security implications. "The council is involved and things are at the level of the brigade commander, and even above that. You have to understand that if you can hit the pipeline, you may do more things, and I do not want to give people ideas. This is something the army has to deal with to reach this gang that steals water and take care of it, because if it is not dealt with, it will just continue."
In Tzik's opinion, the solution is simple and can be implemented if a systemic decision is made to find a practical solution to the problem. "Yesterday all day there was no water because we fixed the line and today from six in the morning we are without water and we do not know when the water will return, it depends very much on whether the state and the army take matters into their own hands."