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November 01, 2009

Amnesty Water Report Falsehood #2

My colleague Alex Safian has published an in-depth backgrounder refuting Amnesty International's broader claims of discriminatory Israeli water policies.

Meanwhile, Snapshots will continue to refute more detailed specific claims in the Amnesty Report ("Troubled Waters -- Palestinians Denied Fair Access to Water").

Falsehood #1 is here.

We find Falsehood #2 on page 4 of the Amnesty report:

The 450,000 Israeli settlers, who live in the West Bank in violation of international law, use as much or more water than the Palestinian population of some 2.3 million.

This statement is wrong for multiple reasons.

1) There are some 280,000 Israelis -- not 450,000 as Amnesty states -- living in the West Bank, also called by its biblical terms Judea and Samaria. (Here, we are citing numbers from the anti-settlement group Peace Now, which if anything would exaggerate, not understate, the number of settlers.)

As Amnesty itself states on page 7 of the very same report: "Currently more than 450,000 Israeli settlers live in the OPT, about half of them in East Jerusalem." In other words, Amnesty cannot be relied upon to even accurately state the number of Jews residing in the West Bank, let alone complex data concerning water usages among the populations.

2) Is it true that 280,000 Israelis living in the West Bank consume more water than the 2.3 million Palestinians residing there? According to page 3 of the Amnesty report,

Palestinian consumption in the OPT is about 70 liters a day per person -- well below the 100 litres per capita daily recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) -- whereas Israeli daily per consumption, about 300 liters, is about four times as much.

For argument's sake, let's accept Amnesty's numbers for Israeli and Palestinian consumption. On the Palestinian side, 2.3 million people multiplied by 70 liters is 161 million liters a day. On the Israeli side, 280,000 people multiplied by 300 liters totals totals 84 million liters a day. So, which is larger? You got it, even according to Amnesty's own numbers, Israelis in the West Bank use half the amount of water that the Palestinian population uses -- not more.

3) There is evidence that Amnesty knowingly manipulated its statistics. The footnote on the page 4 falsehood, regarding the 450,000 Israeli settlers and 2.3 million Palestinians allegedly living in the West Bank, states:

This figure excludes the more than 200,000 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem; though part of the OPT, East Jerusalem has been annexed by Israel.

Thus, while Amnesty was careful to make a distinction between Jerusalem and West Bank Palestinians, it lumped together Jerusalem and West Bank Israelis and passed them all off as West Bank residents.

Posted by TS at November 1, 2009 07:14 AM


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