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Between fantasy and denial, 2012. Video 26min30.


Between fantasy and denial
Colette Dubois

(...) In the glass cup placed in front of the window there is liquid gold. Through the flickering glitters that make up the precious fluid, one can observe the sunset on Birzeit. The changes of the light vary all colours of gold and give the reflection that extends to the edge of the window sometimes acute accents, as a fragment of a keen sun and sometimes looks like a simple track that seeks to vanish into the surface. ‘Between fantasy and denial’, the title of this video, comes from a sentence spotted in Birzeit and spread in several Palestinian villages. The piece refers directly to the water tanks that are on the roofs of the West Bank. These black and massive cylinders evoke disturbing elements: giant insects, strange weapons or explosives. They contain water, a precious commodity in the Middle East and the control of which is an important geostrategic issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Featuring these tanks as a cup of fiery liquor in which the glance plunges with enjoyment, to place the twilight that still bears the promise that tomorrow is another day, is as much fantasy as the will to reverse the tide. (...)

Water consumption among farmers and herders in Area C* is estimated to be less than 30 litres per capita per day, well below the 100 litres the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations. By comparison, Israeli settlements consume approximately 270 litres per capita per day .
[…] The limited rainfall has also resulted in households only being able to fill cisterns at one third of available capacity, forcing them to purchase larger amounts of tankered water, which is up to three-four times more expensive than water delivered by the water network.
Further compounding the problem is the demolition of cisterns by the Israeli authorities due to the lack of building permits. From January 2010 to date, 44 cisterns (primarily for harvesting rainwater) and 33 wells have been demolished, half of which were recorded this year alone (20 cisterns and 15 wells in 2011) affecting nearly 14,000 people, over half of whom are children. Most structures demolished in 2011 were the principle livelihoods means of livelihood the most vulnerable families in the West Bank, pushing them deeper into poverty.
[…] The discriminatory zoning and planning regime governing Palestinian communities living in these areas, implemented by the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA), is made evident when compared to the preferential water resource distribution provided to Israeli settlements located in the same areas. For example, approximately 9,400 Israeli settlers live in the Jordan Valley region, and consume around 45 Million Cubic Metres of water a year. This is almost a third of the quantity of water allocated to the 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank.

* Full Israeli civil and security control, except over Palestinian civilians: circa 72% of the West Bank.
Source : United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs occupied Palestinian territory, monthly humanitarian monitor, July 2011.

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