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  • ACRI

Demolition of Cisterns in the Lands of Al-Fawwar

On a midday in late July, forces of the Israeli military and civil administration arrived at private lands in the village of Al-Fawwar in the West Bank. They destroyed four cisterns and sealed them with concrete, claiming that these were unauthorized drilling activities. The event was documented and widely shared on social media, garnering millions of views and drawing significant criticism towards the conduct of the Israeli military and civil administration. They were accused of denying access to water for protected residents in the West Bank during the summer months and amid an intense heatwave.

Following the extensive exposure, the case was covered in the news, revealing that a directive had been issued by the Israeli government operations coordinator in the territories. According to this directive, during the summer months, any prevention of water access would be privately examined by the head of the civil administration.

On July 31, 2023, an appeal was made to the operations coordinator in the territories and the Central Command, emphasizing that the right to water is grounded in international humanitarian law, and the prohibition of denying water access is not limited to the summer season. The occupying force has an obligation to ensure proper living conditions, supply necessities, and ensure the realization of residents' rights in the occupied territory. It was further argued that the method used for sealing, by pouring concrete onto the ground, could potentially contaminate the soil and violate the occupying force's duty to safeguard private property. Therefore, a demand was made to instruct enforcement agencies not to leave protected communities without water access throughout the year and to align regulations and orders regarding sealing water sources on private land with legal provisions.

Appeal from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, July 31, 2023. (Hebrew)

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