Does Israel takes unfair advantage of water resources by depriving the Palestinians of their own resources and thus violate international law?

  • Detractors argue that Israel’s population consumes more litres of water per day than the population of the West Bank and Gaza. This is because the population of Israel is almost double that of the West Bank and Gaza – not due to unequal distribution.
  • Israel’s detractors say that Israel unequally distributes water between Israelis and Palestinians and that the water supplied to the West Bank does not meet the needs of Palestinians.
  • The Palestinians manage their own water system, but water is not managed well. For example, more than 30% of the water supplied to the Palestinians is lost due to leakage, theft and a lack of metering supply.
  • The Palestinians continue to drill unauthorised wells, fail to treat sewage leaking in streams and do not develop new water resources that Israel has made available to them.
  • Israel has entered into long-term agreements with the Palestinian Authority for the management and sharing of water resources, and far exceeds its legal obligations to do so. In 2016 Israel provided the Palestinian community with 70 mill cubic metres of water, while the agreements only obliged it to provide 31 mill cubic metres.
  • Israel has also transferred control over various water systems to the Palestinians. In 2005, for example, Israel transferred 25 wells, storage reservoirs and a well-developed transmission system.
  • A joint Israel-Palestinian Water Commission promotes cooperation between the distribution of Israeli and Palestinian water resources
  • Israel’s written commitments and positive actions clearly show that it has not taken unfair advantage of water resources and has not deprived Palestinians of their own water resources in violation of international law.


Nirim Reservoir, Israel 

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