Israel, Palestinians Sign Joint Water Agreement

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories (COGAT), Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, signed an agreement with the Palestinian Authority’s Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh on Sunday to renew the operations of the Joint Water Committee.

The agreement seeks to establish a framework for the convening of the JWC under the 1995 Interim Agreement, part of the Oslo Accords. One of the goals is to improve and modernize the water infrastructure in Yehudah and Shomron, which is vital for local residents.

According to the agreement, the JWC will reconvene after not having met regularly for six years. It will discuss the allocation of additional water to Yehudah and Shomron and Gaza, increasing water sources with new drilling, environmental issues, water tariffs, agricultural water use and promoting hydrological matters. The agreement will allow the laying of new pipes for water, sewage and effluent quickly and efficiently.

Meanwhile, Israel and the Palestinians are working to formulate a long-term strategic plan for up to 2040, planning for the expected population growth in the region.

The COGAT said, “The signing of this water agreement proves that it’s possible to reach understandings and agreements when we discuss issues substantively, bilaterally, free of extraneous issues of natural resources and additional infrastructures that affect the entire population. Over the past year and half, we’ve signed four agreements: electricity, water, mail and 3G cellular infrastructure, which is intended to improve the quality of life for all the populations in the region.”