Israel’s national water carrier Mekorot signed a “co-operative” venture with EPAL, the Portuguese water company that serves 2.5 million consumers in the country’s capital and the south. The agreement claims to safeguard the Portuguese water system against “terrorist threats”, building on Mekorot’s alleged “expertise” in the area.
The Portuguese deal is in a reality a thinly veiled attempt for Mekorot to profit from its many years of experience as an agent of Israel’s illegal and immoral occupation of Palestine. The deal with Portugal serves as a launch pad for the company to sell its services to the rest of Europe, pumping millions of dollars back to Israel’s military apparatus. This money will inevitably be used to consolidate Israel’s criminal appropriation of Palestinian water aquifers.
An Amnesty International report published last October accuses Israel of denying Palestinians access to water. “Swimming pools, well-watered lawns and large irrigated farms in Israeli settlements … stand in stark contrast next to Palestinian villages whose inhabitants struggle even to meet their domestic water needs,” reads the report. Israel’s daily water consumption per capita is four times higher than the 70 litre per person consumed in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, a number well below the recommended World Health Organization guidelines.
Israel reroutes more than 80 percent of water retrieved from the Mountain Aquifer. This aquifer is the only supply of drinking water for Palestinians, while Israel draws water from other sources, including the Jordan River. Somewhere between 180,000 and 200,000 Palestinians in rural communities of the West Bank have no access to running water. About 90 to 95 percent of Gaza”s drinking water supply has been contaminated with sewage and seawater and is now undrinkable.
The Palestine Solidarity Committee (CSP) in Portugal wrote a letter to EPAL protesting the agreement. The company defended the deal by shirking its responsibility for the faith of the Palestinians. Adding insult to injury, EPAL sacked an employee that expressed dissent, an attempt to curtail freedom of expression inside the organization. Nevertheless, in light of European Union directives in the award of public contracts (2004/18/EC), the company is walking on thin ice and the deal can fall if the right public pressure is applied. Already the Portuguese media has expressed interest in the case. This is an international appeal to activists worldwide to help us curtail Mekorot’s expansion into Europe at an early stage.
Demand that EPAL end its agreement with Mekorot NOW!
1 – Write a letter to EPAL, to the Portuguese Ministry of Environment and to the Portuguese media exposing this shameless deal and demanding that EPAL breaks its agreement with Mekorot.
Please copy us on all correspondence: stopmekorotcampaign[at]gmail.com
Model letter (in Portuguese): http://bit.ly/12zuWF (you can also write in English)
* EPAL board of directors: jose.zenha[at]epal.pt , jose.zenha[at]epal.pt , jose.figueira[at]epal.pt , anita.ferreira[at]epal.pt , blopes[at]epal.pt , mario.maria[at]epal.pt , joaquim.sereno[at]epal.pt , luis.branco[at]epal.pt , conceicao.almeida[at]epal.pt , francisco.serranito[at]epal.pt , daniela.santos[at]epal.pt , carlos.saraiva[at]epal.pt , paulo.rodrigues[at]epal.pt , barnabe.pisco[at]epal.pt , maria.benoliel[at]epal.pt , nilopes[at]epal.pt , ldurao[at]epal.pt , mario.cruz[at]epal.pt , ana.pile[at]epal.pt , margarida.santos[at]epal.pt
* Minister for the Environment Dulce Pássaro: gmaotdr[at]maotdr.gov.pt
1. Portuguese water company’s immoral collaboration with Israel: http://bit.ly/uYXc0
2. Video explaining the contract with Mekorot: http://bit.ly/7ecUvK
3. Amnesty International report “Troubled Waters” (October, 2009): http://bit.ly/1rNuiN
4. Video: Al-Jazeera report (October 27, 2009): http://bit.ly/3XK4Xv
5. Video: Al-Jazeera report (November 14, 2009): http://bit.ly/4Bv6ZZ