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Endorse the Marseille Declaration: "We commit to take action in solidarity with Palestinian human rights, including the human right to water”

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Alternative Water Forum 2012 – The Marseille Declaration

”We commit to take action in solidarity with Palestinian human rights, including the human right to water”

22 March 2012 Occupied Palestine – For years, the United Nations Human Rights Committee and other UN bodies have found Israel to be in violation of Palestinians human right to water and sanitation as part of normal reviews of Israel’s compliance with human rights treaties ratified by Israel.

Yet Israel’s violations of Palestinians human right to water and sanitation are only increasing. Between 2009 and 2011, Israel demolished 57 rainwater harvesting cisterns and 40 wells Palestinians depend on for their lives and livelihoods.[i] Military destruction of Palestinian water infrastructure is both a direct violation of the human right to water and a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Israel’s obstruction of Palestinian water and sanitation development has prevented Palestinians from developing additional quantities of water agreed upon as part of the Oslo “peace process”[iv] and has forced Palestinians into a state of dependence upon purchasing Palestinian water from the Israeli national water company Mekorot. Mekorot cuts supply to Palestinian communities in order to maintain unhindered service to Israeli colonies in the West Bank.

The siege on Gaza prevents the entry of spare parts, materials and energy needed for the day-to-day functioning of the water and wastewater networks, and obstructs much needed development of these systems. The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict found that Israel intentionally targeted and destroyed wells, pipes, wastewater facilities, water reservoirs and the main power station.[vii] More than 90% of water produced from municipal wells in Gaza is unsuitable for human consumption. Since 2005 Israel has damaged or destroyed more than 300 wells in a “buffer zone” unilaterally imposed by Israel inside of the territory of Gaza.[viii] According to international water law Gaza has a right to an equitable and reasonable share of water from the Coastal Aquifer, including from those portions within Israel.

We launch this declaration calling upon global citizens of conscience to take action for Palestinian water rights as members of the global water rights movement are organizing to resist the corporatization of our common water heritage. We launch this declaration here in Marseille, France, home to the World Water Council, the corporate think tank and lobby group founded by multinational corporations and the World Bank. As the World Water Council convenes the 6th World Water Forum promoting the privatization of water and sanitation services, we call out the corporate members of this Council for profiting from the privatization of water and sanitation services globally – and in particular we call out the transnational French corporation Veolia for also providing sanitation services to the illegal Israeli settlement of Modin Illit which is colonizing Palestinian land, for illegally dumping garbage from Israel in the occupied Jordan Valley, and for profiting from apartheid transportation services that serve illegal colonies while denying Palestinians service. Our struggles are intricately linked. As we resist corporate and state profiteering from human rights violations in Palestine, we are resisting discrimination in access to water and promoting global water justice.

From Cochabamba, Bolivia to Palestine, we affirm the need for popular resistance to hold states and corporations accountable to a respect for human rights. Today as Palestinians are risking what is left of their land and their homes and the trickle of water that they are able to currently access in order to demand that they be recognized as human beings with human rights, we know that we must take concrete action to support the growing movement demanding an end to Israeli impunity for human rights violations, including the human rights to water and sanitation.

Given the abject failure of world government to hold Israel accountable for its persistent violations of international law, including the right to water, Palestinians have called for people of conscience around the world to implement boycotts of, divestment from and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, inspired by the international nonviolent struggle that succeeded in ending apartheid in South Africa. The pillars of the movement are based on international law and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people with a goal of achieving freedom, justice and equality for all irrespective of race and creed.

As global citizens in an increasingly interconnected world it is imperative that we take action in our communities to protect the human rights of our brothers and sisters globally.

With the goal of holding Israel accountable so that Palestinians have their rights to water restituted and achieve self-determination with their full set of rights, we, activists for water justice, declare our support for the Palestinian-led BDS movement. In particular we pledge to:

1. Oppose the corporate expansion of the Israeli national water company, Mekorot, into international markets, Mekorot being one of the key instruments in denying Palestinians their water rights

2. Boycott Israeli agricultural produce, campaigning to exclude Israeli agricultural companies (e.g. Mehadrin) from access to foreign markets and expose their role in the takeover of Palestinian land and water resources

3. Support the Stop the JNF campaign and educate others about JNF’s “greenwashing” of Israeli crimes

4. Boycott and divest from Veolia, the largest privatizer of public water supply in the world, and a main profiteer of Israeli apartheid

5. Call for government sanctions on Israel, in particular, the end of all water-related cooperation agreements

[i] EWASH Advocacy Task Force, “Demolition & destruction of water, sanitation & hygiene (WASH) infrastructure in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” Fact Sheet 11, December 2011. [ii] According to the World Bank, after losses from the network, average net consumption at the household level is 50 liters (13.2 gallons) per person per day. This is just 50% of the World Health Organization’s minimum recommended daily allowance of 100 liters. --World Bank (2009), “Assessment of Restrictions on Palestinian Water Sector Development,” p. 17. [iii] Average Israeli domestic water consumption is 300 liters per person per day, including both freshwater and desalinated seawater. [iv] “Amongst the well drilling projects not approved by the JWC [Joint Water Committee] or still pending JWC or CA [Civil Administration] approval, were 82 well drilling projects which were presented by the PWA as part of the agreed quantum under Article 40.” World Bank (2009), p. 49. [v] From Clemens Messerschmid (2011), “The Last Sip: Water crisis in Palestine [Arabic publication],” p. 6. [vi] Israel Water Authority (April, 2009), “The Issue of Water between Israel and the Palestinians,” (p. 15). [vii] “Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,” para. 1023, UN Doc. A/HRC/12/48 (15 September 2009). [viii] United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (August 2010) “Between the Fence and a Hard Place: The humanitarian impact of Israeli-imposed restrictions on access to land and sea in the Gaza Strip.” [ix] B’tselem (2009), “Foul Play: Neglect of Wastewater Treatment in the West Bank”.

Organizational Signatures:
LifeSource – Palestine
Stop the Wall
Middle East Children’s Alliance
Escuela del Pueblo Primero de Mayo – Cochabamba, Bolivia
Fundacion Abril – Cochabamba, Bolivia
Centre for Civil Society Environmental Justice Project, Durban, South Africa
Socio-economic Rights Institute of South Africa
Ecological Movement of South Africa
Focus on the Global South (Thailand, Philippines, India)
Enginyeria Sense Fronteras / Engineers Without Borders
Union Juive Française pour la Paix / French Jewish Union for a Just Peace
Jordan Valley Solidarity
Stop the JNF
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
KRuHA-Indonesia, people's coalition for the right to water
General Union of Palestine Students, Aix-Marseille
Union Démocratique Arabe en France
Le Réseau Palestine Bouches-du-Rhône / Assemblea per la Comunicació Social (Catalunya)
JUNTS, Associació Catalana de Jueus i Palestins
Other Worlds
Solo El Pueblo Salva Al Pueblo
Newcastle Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice

Individual Signatures:
Marcela Olivera – Cochabamba, Bolivia
Oscar Olivera – Cochabamba, Bolivia
Blaine Grinder – Tsillqot'in Nation
Jackie Dugard – visiting senior fellow, School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand
Liz Marshall – Toronto, Canada
Pilar Esquinas – P.C. Canal Isabel II, Madrid
Daniela del Bene – Forum Italiano Movimenti Per L'Aqua and Cevi Italy
Marco Iob – Forum Italiano Movimenti Per L'Aqua/Comitato Italiano Contratto Mondialle Del L'Aqua
Jon Arrizabalaga – Ingenieria Sin Fronteras, Madrid
Prof. Uri Davis – Jaffa, Palestine
Annelies Broekman – President of theXarxa per una Nova Cultura de l'Aigua
Luis Isarra – Federation of Water Workers from Peru (FENTAP)
Danilo Urrea – CENSAT, Amigos de la Tierra Colombia
Chandra Talpade Mohanty – Professor, Department Of Women's And Gender Studies / Dean's Professor Of The Humanities
Lina Isma'il – Palestine
Zayneb Alshalalfeh – Palestine
Susan Koppelman – United States / Palestine
Irene Bonilla – Guadalajara, Mexico
Steve Fisher – United States / Mexico
Pancho Ramos Stierle – Oakland, California, Earth
Shir Hever – Germany/Israel
Donna Oakes – United States/New York
Colin Miller – Oakland, California


Founded in 2007, LifeSource is a Palestinian collective working at the grassroots level, both locally and internationally, to grow a popular movement for Palestinian water rights by raising public awareness of water rights violations, promoting successful strategies of non-violent resistance, and connecting popular movements locally and globally in support of Palestinian and Arab water rights and accountability of Israel for water rights violations.

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