The IDF, along with police and officials of the Mekorot water company, overnight Sunday conducted a major campaign against water theft by Arabs in the Chevron Hills area. According to local officials, the thefts have amounted to some 500 cubic meters of water, which are siphoned off from the supplies for Jewish towns in the area, and paid for by them.
Security forces seized 18 water tanks in the operation, along with drilling equipment, pipes and other equipment that was used for stealing the water. Officials said that “dozens of kilometers” of pipes were seized in the operation. A number of suspects were arrested as well.
According to officials, the water theft issue has gotten worse since the beginning of the summer. Residents of towns in the Chevron Hills area were without running water for several days, as the stolen water reduced pressure in the pipes and halted the flow of water. The lack of water also affected farmers. In addition, Arabs destroyed a portion of one of the water mains that bring water to the area, further significantly reducing the supply of water. To compensate, the Water Authority was forced to send mobile tanks to towns in the region 10 times in the past month and a half. Residents have also been instructed not to water their lawns, fill their pools, and even do their laundry, because of the water shortage.
Chevron Hills Regional Council head Yohar Damari congratulated security forces for their work, saying that “the theft of water is nothing less than an act of terror. The Arabs have plenty of water, they have wells and other sources. But as they continue to take over parts of Area C, they need more. It is unthinkable that Israelis who pay taxes as demanded are forced to tolerate these thefts.We are working with authorities to put a stop to this, and happily, we saw positive results in this direction in Sunday night’s operation.”