The heartbreaking images of the colonial and genocidal war carried out by the State of Israel on the Palestinian populations of Gaza and the West Bank, live and direct in front of the eyes of the world, have behind them an apartheid regime that strongly includes the theft and constant deprivation of those populations from access to water.
This implies, for example, that the Palestinian population can only access on average a paltry 70 liters per person of this common good essential for life, while the WHO recommends at least 100 liters. In many West Bank livestock communities, water consumption is even just 20 liters per person per day for thousands of Palestinians, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Instead, each Israeli consumes an average of 300 liters of water per day.
This true water apartheid has a first and last name: Mekorot Israel National Water Co, or, more simply, Mekorot. The state water company of the State of Israel, founded in 1938 as a private consultancy but expanded after the creation of the State of Israel by Zionism, in 1948, where it was integrated into water management in the region, in line with a process of ethnic cleansing and expulsion (the Nakba).
Since then, the company played a central role in the extraction, desalination, piping and transfer of water in aqueducts through extended infrastructure as the Israeli State occupied new territories. It currently has 3,000 plants and 13,000 kilometers of aqueducts aimed centrally at supplying agribusiness and the Israeli population and at the constant violation of the Palestinian human right to access to water.
Since the six-day war in 1967, Palestinians not only have access to the Jordan River: they cannot drill wells, install water pumps, or take advantage of rainwater due to strict control imposed by this company that forces them to buy the water. that steals from their aquifers. 97% of the water in Palestinian territory, on the other hand, is not suitable for human consumption.
The situation is so treacherous that even the UN Secretary General condemned the company in 2014 in his report to the Human Rights Council. “The Israeli national water company, Mekorot, owns all water networks in the West Bank and supplies about 50 percent of the water available in Palestinian communities,” the report states. “According to the information received, Mekorot considerably reduces the supply of water to the Palestinians in the summer months in order to meet demand in Israel and the settlements,” he adds. After this, several countries, including the Netherlands and Portugal, rejected or terminated agreements with the company.
Despite this background, and after a first failed attempt to land in the PBA in 2011 – prevented by the repudiation in 2013 – the government of Alberto Fernández, in the figure of his Minister of the Interior Wado de Pedro (who traveled especially with a delegation to Israel April 2022) promoted the signing of agreements by 10 provinces with Mekorot for water management and the creation of infrastructure associated with this, with the intermediation of the Federal Investment Council (CFI). The agreements are not public and involve million-dollar deals with public works.
The provinces involved? Mendoza, San Juan, La Rioja, Catamarca, Río Negro, Formosa, Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, Santiago del Estero and Chubut. Yes, provinces with a strong presence, or in the crosshairs of, megamining, an extractive activity that strongly affects this natural common good. Extractivism as the main beneficiary of water, and water as a commodity for new businesses.
But since that first landing attempt, since 2011, human rights organizations, citizen assemblies and social and political organizations launched the “Out with Mekorot” campaign. Faced with this new attack, the campaign organized a public hearing in the National Congress on July 14 of this year, in which Nicolás del Caño and Romina del Plá participated on behalf of the FIT-U, with the support of Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and Nora Cortiñas, in which numerous grassroots organizations from across the country and the Palestinian people spoke out denouncing the company’s actions.
Based on the company’s actions on Palestinian territory and other countries, the campaign denounces (see below) some of the company’s plans on water, which include the modification of legislation to favor the commercialization and privatization of water, the regulation of water quality through price and of this based on consumption, and the transfer of infrastructure costs to users.
The election of Mekorot is not arbitrary: it responds to a political alignment with the interests of the State of Israel and its main promoter, North American imperialism. And they have everything to do with the right that today, while the genocidal war crimes of the State of Israel worsen, including the daily murder of children and young people under criminal bombardments, and are repudiated by historic mobilizations around the world and even the rupture of diplomatic relations of countries like Colombia or Bolivia with Israel, the figure of the Minister candidate and government candidate for the presidency Sergio Massa who embraces the Zionist State and refuses to condemn the genocide.
The mobilizations called for tomorrow this Friday, November 3, which in CABA will take place at 5:30 p.m. in the plaza of the two congresses, but which will be replicated in cities throughout the country, will strongly denounce this genocidal war, will demand the stop to the genocide of the Palestinian children and people, solidarity with the Palestinian people and enough of the bombings, invasion and blockade of the Gaza Strip. The denunciation of Mekorot’s disastrous role in this oppression, and the repudiation of his landing in the country managing nothing less than water, will be part of the claim.