The Knesset on Tuesday will discuss an ongoing water shortage that has affected Jewish towns in the Shomron and Binyamin regions in recent weeks. The discussion comes after a threat by MK Betzalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) to block millions of shekels allocated for the Civil Administration, meant for distribution to Arab villages.
The water problem affects not only Jews, but Arabs as well. The problem: Water has just stopped flowing, for reasons that are unclear. Water pressure throughout the region is extremely low, even in towns that do have water flowing from taps. In some, like Kedumim, where the water system is not functioning properly, families have been forced to fill up water from tankers that were brought in by the IDF. In the case of Kedumim resident Smotrich, he and his family were forced to celebrate their son’s bar mitzvah under these circumstances. Altogether, some 60,000 people are affected.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Smotrich said that while the event itself was “wonderful, as we have very easygoing relatives on both sides of the family. At the end of Shabbat we distributed parting gifts to out guests – bottles of water.
“This is a well-known and ongoing problem,” he said. “The responsibility for this is in the hands of the Civil Administration. Part of the problem goes back to the Oslo Accords, as Arabs refuse to cooperate in the development of new water projects that will benefit both Jews and Arabs, while the projects for their villages are automatically approved.”
The money to pay for those projects needs to be approved by the Knesset Economics Committee, of which Smotrich is a member – and until concrete steps are taken to resolve the problem, Smotrich said he would make sure that the money for these and other projects are held up. In a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Shomron Council chairman Yossi Dagan and Ariel Mayor Eli Sheviro demanded that work to fix the situation be carried out immediately. “This situation has sent us back in time 60 years,” said the letter. “Someone has to take responsibility for this situation.”