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PPT case: Mekorot and water supply, Israel/Palestine

Since its foundation in 1937, Mekorot has restricted water supplies to Palestinian communities in order to supply Israeli settlers in what has been condemned as a water apartheid


(Español abajo) The conflict is related to the state-owned, Tel Aviv-based Mekorot Israeli National Water Company. In collaboration with the state of Israel, Mekorot, since its foundation in 1937, has restricted water supplies to Palestinian communities in order to supply Israeli settlers in what has been condemned as a water apartheid. Palestinians are charged higher rates for water than Israelis, even though much of this water comes from Palestinian territories. Furthermore, Mekorot has facilitated the illegal Israeli settlements by building water infrastructures that are essential to their development. The company is also accused of committing the international crime of pillaging natural resources in the occupied territories. The breach of the right to water violates Article 1[1] of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as several other human rights, such as the rights to health, adequate housing and food, to which water is essential, thus also violating the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the 64/292 UN GA Resolution recognizing the right to water and sanitation. Moreover, since Israel is an occupying power in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem, the foregoing can also entail a crime of persecution and forced displacement, in breach of the IV Geneva Convention and the Statute of the International Criminal Court.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:PPT case: Mekorot and water supply, Israel/Palestine
Location of conflict:The case involves Israel authorities and the Palestinian territories
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Water access rights and entitlements
Interbasin water transfers/transboundary water conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Water treatment and access to sanitation (access to sewage)
Specific commodities:Water
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Israel extracts on an annual basis an average of 461 MCM of water from the Mountain Aquifer underneath the West Bank, which is fully controlled by Israel. Palestinians on the other hand extract only on average 100 MCM a year from this same resource, because Israel actively denies Palestinians access to the aquifer.

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Level of Investment for the conflictive projectThe company’s annual income is about $1.14 billion, its equity is about $992 million (not including a company in formation) and annual balance sheet (consolidated report) of about $4.17 billion.
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:2.1 million in West Bank, 1.9 million in Gaza
Company names or state enterprises:Mekorot Water Company from Israel
Relevant government actors:The State of Israel
International and Finance InstitutionsEuropean Union (EU) - Project Funding within Israel’s Association Agreement with EU
European Investment Bank (EIB) - Funding
The World Bank (WB) from United States of America - Coordination of the Red Sea-Dead Sea Channel project. The WB Inspection Panel considered the campaign’s arguments as legitimate, yet refused to act
United Nations Human Rights Council (UN) from United States of America - Review Process
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:‘Stop Mekorot Campaign’, Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network – PENGON- FoE Palestine, Stop the Wall, BNC, Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power, Permanent Peoples Tribunal
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Potential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Health ImpactsVisible: Other Health impacts
Potential: Malnutrition, Infectious diseases
Other Health impactsBy depriving Palestinian communities from the possibility of access to water, consumption in the OPT is about 70 litres a day per person – well below the 100 litres per capi-ta daily recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) – whereas Israeli daily per capita consumption, at about 300 litres, is about four times as much. Furthermore, by supporting and enabling the Israeli occupation settlements, Mekorot is also an indirect agent of the many health impacts resulting from the living situation in these territories, which could include all of the above.
Al privar a las comunidades palestinas de posibilidades de acceso al agua, el consumo de agua medio por persona en los territorios ocupados es de 70 litros – muy por debajo de los 100 litros por persona diarios recomendados por la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) – mientras que el consumo diario medio para un israelí alcanza los 300 litros. Además, al aprovecharse de y facilitar los asentamientos israelís, Mekorot es también agente indirecto de los muchos impactos sobre la salud resultantes de la situación de vida en estos territorios, los cuales podrían incluir todos los arriba mencionados.
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

[1] International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
[click to view]

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
[click to view]

64/292 UN GA Resolution
[click to view]

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
[click to view]

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
[click to view]

Global Campaign to Stop Corporate Impunity
[click to view]

Mekorot - Stop the Wall
[click to view]

Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network- Friends of Earth Palestine
[click to view]

Testimony of the case in the Permanent Peoples Tribunal Hearing - Corporate Human Rights Violations and Peoples Access to Justice. Geneva, 23 June 2014
[click to view]

Other comments:See more at:,
Meta information
Contributor:Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power, Transnational Institute - TNI
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1972
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