NGO Monitor: Amnesty’s Water Report Timed to Support Latest Israel Boycott Campaign
October 26, 2009
(Jerusalem) – NGO Monitor notes that Amnesty International’s 112 page report titled “Troubled Waters – Palestinians Denied Fair Access to Water”, is timed to strengthen the Israel boycott campaign, coinciding with a US speaking tour linking the water issue and Israeli ‘apartheid’. The report itself is a political document which promotes an imaginary and highly distorted version of international law. In addition, it omits critical context to the conflict in order to promote the Palestinian narrative, thereby continuing the NGO-led political warfare against Israel.
- This report is the latest episode in Amnesty’s campaign against Israel. Amnesty International headquarters issued over twenty statements overwhelmingly critical of Israel during and in the aftermath of the Gaza conflict.
- Amnesty's report provides legitimacy for a speaking tour beginning November 1 at universities in the US organized by the Palestinian Cultural Academic Boycott of Israel (PCABI) movement entitled, "Israel's Control of Water as a Tool of Apartheid and means of Ethnic Cleansing." The main speaker, Omar Barghouti, is a leader of the boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
- Amnesty’s report ignores evidence that not only does Israel provide West Bank Palestinians with more water than required under the Oslo framework, but that Palestinian water thieves are responsible for stealing up to 50% of supplies in some areas.
- Amnesty claims that levels of Palestinian water consumption (60-70 liters per person per day), are “the lowest in the region.” Amnesty omits easily available evidence that this is a similar level, if not better than major regional cities such as Amman, Tunis and Algiers.
- The report is based on the claim that Israel is violating Palestinian human rights, because the Oslo framework, on which current water arrangements are based, “codified inequality in access to water resources”. This approach patronizingly assumes that the Palestinian leadership is incapable of negotiating agreements, and creates the spectre of future agreements that will be abrogated on similar ground.
- The report invents standards of international law, by erroneously claiming (including on the front cover) that Israel has an “obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the right to water” based on the International Covenant of Economic, Cultural & Social Rights (ICESCR). Amnesty falsely implies that the ICESCR demands a right to water when no such right is even mentioned in the treaty. In fact, the legislative history of the ICESCR indicates that the State parties deliberately omitted water issues.
In advance of Amnesty’s report, NGO Monitor’s President Prof Gerald Steinberg said, “Amnesty’s report manipulates the issue of water and ignores the complexities of history and law in order to again falsely portray Israel as a brutal regime.
Rather than recognize that water supply is a complex regional issue, Amnesty focuses only on Palestinian shortages. The report adopts a painfully simplistic narrative which places blame solely on Israel, to the extent that the Palestinian leadership is absolved of responsibility for the agreements signed under the Oslo framework.
This report has been cynically timed by Amnesty to boost a new wave of Israel boycott campaigning. It is a pointed example of Amnesty’s ongoing campaign of hostility towards Israel.”
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