In areas where nearly 80 percent live under the poverty line, residents are being forced to buy bottled water for drinking, cooking, showering and cleaning.
Palestinian East Jerusalem residents turned to Israel’s High Court on Tuesday demanding that running water be restored to their homes, after suffering for three weeks without it. The petition was filed on their behalf by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).
The East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Ras Shehada, Ras Khamis, Dahyat A’salam and the Shuafat refugee camp, which are cut off from the rest of the city by the separation wall, have gone without running water since March 4.
The Jerusalem municipality does not provide basic municipal services like trash collection to its neighborhoods beyond the eight-meter wall. Even police rarely enter and there is no ambulance service in neighborhoods like Shuafat camp, which are completely surrounded by the wall.
“As a result of the situation, residents are forced to buy bottles of water at exorbitant prices – and this is a population in which 80 percent of people are living under the poverty line. There are elderly, babies, and people with disabilities, and the situation has become unbearable,” said Jamil Sanduka, chairman of the Ras Hamis Neighborhood Committee.
“Anywhere else, if thousands of people were without running water, this problem would have been solved quickly. In our case, the problem is first and foremost that all the responsible parties simply do not care,” he added.
The Jerusalem municipality’s water company “admit that presently the water infrastructure can support 15,000 people; the area’s population is estimated to be between 60,000 and 80,000,” according to ACRI.