Severe Water Shortage in Kufr Aqab

Despite ongoing meetings between representatives of the Kufr Aqab resident’s committee and the Municipality, a water shortage that began near two months ago has yet to be addressed.  Residents report that over the last several weeks water supply has been limited to two days a week.  During this period of skyrocketing heat, the crisis is putting not only individual residents but also public buildings and services such as hospitals and emergency responders at risk.
Since 1967, a Ramallah based supplier has channeled water to the Kufr Aqab area.  The company buys its supply from Mekorot, Israel’s national water company.  The Ramallah based company claims that it is currently receiving only ¼ of the supply needed to meet the needs of Kufr Aqab’s residents.  While Mekorot denies responsibility, it is Israel’s onus to ensure an adequate water supply to the residents of Kufr Aqab who, despite being cut off from the city by the Separation Barrier, are permanent residents of Jerusalem residing within its boundaries.
For years, the supplier has requested a permit to upgrade the failing water pipeline in the area.  Despite the enduring crisis, no Israeli authority or service provider - the Municipality, the Israeli water authority, the Gihon Company – has intervened to resolve the shortage.  Only on Monday, after weeks of meetings with Kufr Aqab community members, the water supply company and mayor’s staff has the Municipality finally awarded the permit, hopefully paving the way for work to begin in the next several weeks. 
Roughly one-third of the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem is now living in the eight neighborhoods beyond the Separation Barrier – clustered around Kufr Aqab and the Shuafat Refugee Camp – for which the Jerusalem Municipality has all but entirely abdicated responsibility.  These neighborhoods continue to emerge in proposals for unilaterally separating parts of East Jerusalem from the city.  Please refer to Ir Amim’s report, Displaced in their Own City, for more on the silent transfer of Palestinians from the core of East Jerusalem to the eight East Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the Barrier and the political significance of this trend.