Tel Aviv, 18 Dzulqa’dah 1435/13 September 2014 (MINA) – Israel’s Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Silvan Shalom has told members of the Israeli delegation to the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Commission that Israel would approve establishing a water pipeline to supply the newly erected Palestinian city Rawabi, in the central West Bank, only if the Palestinians agree to allow Israel to update the settlements’ water infrastructure.
Israel’s Maariv newspaper, which reported the news on its website, said that Shalom responded to appeals from the settlements’ representatives by saying he will not allow the Palestinians to provide their new city with water while they stifle the Israeli settlements, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
Sources close to Shalom, who is the first Israeli minister to intervene in the topic amid several appeals by settlers to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that “he maintains his position that there will be no water for Rawabi without strengthening the settlements’ infrastructure in the West Bank”.
The Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee, which was established under the Oslo agreement, provides that each party has the right to veto any project related to any of the topics left for future talks between the two parties.
In recent years, Palestinians have refused to approve some of the settlements’ developmental projects while Israel in turn vetoed projects for the Palestinians.
Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Yoav Mordechai proposed a solution to the dilemma by replacing the Palestinian representative to the committee which has been recently made.
Under the new agreement, Israel has agreed to allow providing the city of Rawabi with water in exchange for the Palestinians’ approval of two infrastructural projects to the settlements, including establishing a water pipeline to supply the settlement of Ofra that can also be used by the city of Rawabi. (T/P002/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)