Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reuters as mouthpiece for Amnesty International

In a video appearing on the Reuters website, correspondent Gabriella Podimane promotes a new calumny report by Amnesty International accusing Israel of failing to provide enough water to Palestinians living in the West Bank (also Judea and Samaria). The first item of note is the headline above the video:

Video: Claim Israel curbs Palestinian water

Well yes, to the extent that there are specific agreements in place between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on water supply and sewage, there are "curbs" (a check or restraint according to our Merriam Webster dictionary). Nothing nefarious here, particularly as the linked response from the Israeli Foreign Ministry points out that the Palestinians have effective access to nearly 50 million cubic meters of water -- twice the amount allocated in the agreement between the parties.

But let's move beyond the headline into the video itself and Reuters mendacious anti-Israel propaganda.

Podimane begins:

Palestinians collect their daily water supply in the occupied Gaza strip.

Incredible. Israel withdraws every soldier, every last Jewish resident, every trace of an Israeli presence in Gaza in 2005 -- well, except for the greenhouses subsequently looted by the Palestinians -- and Reuters is still robotically referring to the territory as "occupied".


But these people are used to severe water shortages.

As are Israelis. Due to limited resources, several years of drought, rapid population growth, and water exports to Jordan, Israelis too are suffering from a water shortage. For example, the Israeli Water Authority indicates that Israeli access to water is currently 149 cubic meters per person per year, down from about 500 cubic meters per person per year in 1967. (During this same period, Palestinian per capita consumption has risen from 86 cubic meters to 105 cubic meters per year).

The Water Authority also reports:

The Palestinians, on the other hand, have significantly violated their commitments under the water agreement, specifically regarding important issues such as illegal drilling (they have drilled over 250 wells without the authorization of the joint water commission) and handling of sewage (The Palestinians are not constructing sewage treatment plants, despite their obligation to do so. Rather, they allow the sewage to flow unheeded into streams, polluting both the environment and groundwater).

None of this is mentioned by Reuters.

To further illustrate the water constraints under which Israel operates and the corresponding consumption limitations both Israelis and Palestinian Arabs are subject to, consider this UNESCO academic study (freely available online) which compares "water footprints" around the world. For the period studied, 1997 - 2001, the average national water footprint per capita in Israel was approximately 30% lower than that in Russia, 40% below levels in the US.

This is clearly a problem which affects all peoples in the Middle East and which Israel has been trying to improve via desalination (which the Palestinians have rejected for political reasons) and water imports.

Reuters is quick to parrot a contentious report from Amnesty International but AWOL when it comes to basic fact-checking.

1 comment:

  1. one of the most dirtiest organisation in the world is amnesty international .
    the are very good to critics israel but never arab country .
    the dirty as some can be dirty one sided . like united nation .
    never criticized american police or any america violation of the law or European country
    no any Palestinian organisation that kill Israeli the support murder . amnesty international . pinko communist that support murder.
    all the report base on fabrication and lie .