Not according to the World Bank, which last week issued the latest in a series of reports about how the Israeli government is systematically pre-empting the evolution of a viable Palestinian economy. The 154-page “Assessment of Restrictions on Palestinian Water Sector Development” is written with a blandness suited to the banality of this particular Israeli outrage. The report offers a detailed look at how Israel deprives the West Bank and Gaza of the most basic commodity for human survival, a deficit that consumes a growing share of Palestinian GDP.
Just as Israel controls the borders, roads, air and sea ports, airspace and export revenue on which the Palestinian economy vitally depends, so too does it control Palestinian water resources via Mekorot, an unhealthy reliance intensified by Israeli over-extraction of available supplies. Mekorot’s dominant role in water distribution, the report states, “makes [the West Bank and Gaza] vulnerable to Israeli decisions and interventions, and may increase commercial risks and costs”.