And it is serious:
A Seeping Timebomb: Pollution of the Mountain Aquifer by Sewage
Untreated sewage of over 2 million people on the recharge area of the Mountain Aquifer threatens to pollute the most significant, shared water source of Israelis and Palestinians. The vast majority of Palestinians in the West Bank, and large parts of the Israeli settlements, have none or inadequate sewage treatment facilities...several noteworthy developments took place since its original presentation. These include: launching of a sewage pre-treatment facility in Tul Karem (German funded); the proposed sewage project for Nablus East was cancelled; establishment of a sewage removal project on the Kanah Stream for some Israeli settlements; Enforcement measures were taken by the Israeli Environment Ministry against the settlement of Ariel on the issue of sewage treatment; the USAID froze its Hebron wastewater project, owing to the establishment of the Hamas government in the Palestinian Authority.
Amira Hass wrote
According to a British researcher, the work of the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee reflects another example of Israel's Ability to coerce and restrict the Palestinian population.
The major projects to expand the water infrastructure in West Bank settlements, undertaken between 1995 and 2008, were carried out with the approval of the Palestinian Authority after it was made clear that otherwise Israel would not allow the PA to repair and improve the water infrastructure serving its own population. Dr. Jan Selby of the international relations department at Britain’s University of Sussex found this to be the case after studying the minutes of 142 of the 176 meetings of the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee that took place during that 13-year period.
The Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) informed Haaretz, however, that during nearly the past three years, it has refused to approve such undertakings in the settlements...he found that the proportion of Palestinian projects approved by the JWC and by the Supreme Planning Council of the Civil Administration was in those years lower than the proportion of projects approved for the settlements: 66 percent of the Palestinian requests to drill wells as compared to 100 percent of the Israeli requests; between 50 to 80 percent of Palestinian water supply networks were approved as compared to 100 percent for the settlers; 58 percent of the wastewater treatment plants for the Palestinians and 96 percent for the settlers.
...The average diameter of water pipes used for the Palestinian population is 2 inches, as compared to 8 inches or 12 inches for the Israelis. The 174 water reservoir projects for the Palestinians that were approved have a total capacity of 167,950 cubic centimeters, as compared to 28 projects for the settlers with a total capacity of 132,250 cubic centimeters. The average capacity of an Israeli reservoir is 4,724 cubic centimeters, whereas the average for a Palestinian one is 965.
...Due to the need to construct, develop, rehabilitate and upgrade Palestinian systems to supply much needed water, the Palestinian hand was forced to approve some of the Israeli projects.
“Lastly, it is important to keep in mind the overall political context of the agreement on water, which was only intended as an interim agreement. The expectation was the settlements will be evacuated following a permanent status agreement and that any approvals thus will only be of temporary nature until evacuation occurs. However, following the failure of permanent status negotiations and the realization that Israel does not intend to roll back its occupation and colonization enterprise, it became clear that settlement projects will have a lasting effect and will erode the two state solution, and thus the Palestinians have rejected since several years to approve any settlement projects.”
Despite Israeli offers to connect the 22 surrounding Palestinian villages to the same pipe, all but one of them refused the proposal, Environmental Protection Ministry and Shomron Regional Council officials explained during an exclusive tour of the area on Thursday.
Instead, their sewage flows into the aquifer below and ends up directly in the stream, according to the officials.
“That’s a testament to the fact that we are doing everything we can to prevent pollution in Judea and Samaria, but nevertheless, the Palestinians refuse to cooperate,” Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan told The Jerusalem Post ...a third official told the Post he suspected that the local Palestinian governments were unwilling to connect their villages due to “political reasons” – simply “because they don’t want to recognize Israel as a presence in the area.”
And consider this obstinacy:
Conflict over sewage treatment plant risks Palestinians' olive trees
Ein Yabrud residents refuse to utilize Israel-sponsored wastewater treatment plant, seek court order to suspend operations; but lack of clean irrigation water is killing their olive trees
The olive trees on the outskirts of the West Bank settlement of Ofra are dying at an alarming rate – but not due to any foul play. The thing killing them are the toxins in the wastewater which are flooding the groves.
The unnecessary demise of the groves is largely due to the Palestinian land owners' insistence to refuse the use of the local sewage treatment plant, offered by the Shomron Municipal Association for the Environment (SMAE).
And this news:
According to a newly released report by Israel’s Environment Ministry, the streams in the Judea and Samaria area have been used as a means of discharging sewage by PA Arabs. The report cites reasons of a lack of sewage treatment facilities in the Palestinian Authority as well as the absence of a cooperation agreement between the PA and Israel as being the cause for this problem.
Itche Meir, chairman of the Municipal Environmental Association of Samaria, confirmed in an interview...that the localstreams are contaminated and it is mostly due to Arab sewage. “The reality is that there is no sewage treatment in those Arab cities and villages, and sewage flows into streams, seeps into the ground and pollutes the mountain aquifer. This is damaging both to the environment as well as to natural sites.”
Meir added that Israel does not have a plan to improve or change the situation. “One of the most serious problems is the lack of policy regarding cross-border nuisances,” he said.
And this news:
Usually, sewage treatment plants don't make the news. But in Judea and Samaria, even the most prosaic issues make international headlines.