The leading Unitd Nations entity on human rights has criticized Israel’s exploitation of natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
The UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNOHCHR), in a special report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, indicated that “Israel’s policy of usurping Palestinian natural resources and disregarding the environment has robbed the Palestinians of vital assets, and means they simply cannot enjoy their right to development…Israeli practices in relation to water, extraction of other resources, and environmental protection, raise serious concerns".
“With the collapse of natural sources of drinking water in Gaza and the inability of Palestinians to access most of their water sources in the West Bank, water has become a potent symbol of the systematic violation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” the Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk said.
More than 96 percent of Gaza’s coastal aquifer has become unfit for human consumption due to over-extraction, dense population, contamination with sewage and seawater, Israel’s 12-year blockade, war, and virtually near-constant power shortage.
In addition to resoure-grabbing from the Dead Sea, there are serious concerns about Israel’s practice of disposing of hazardous waste in so-called “sacrifice zones” in the West Bank.
The report also questions excessive force utilized by Israeli security forces against demonstrators in Gaza, and the near humanitarian catastrophe in the territory caused by the blockade.
“We must understand that these issues and violations block any visible path to Palestinian self-determination, and are instead leading to a darker future that heralds danger to both peoples,” he said.