Palestinian PM accuses Israel of seizing two-thirds of Palestine's groundwater

RAMALLAH, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye on Sunday accused Israel of seizing two-thirds of the Palestinian groundwater and diverting it into its cities and settlements.

Ishtaye made the remarks at a media briefing ahead of the Fourth Arab Water Conference organized by Palestine under the slogan Arab Water Security for Life, Development and Peace, according to an official statement.

The two-day conference will officially open in Egypt's capital Cairo on Wednesday.

"Israel steals 600 million cubic meters of Palestine's 800 million cubic meters and diverts it into its cities and settlements," Ishtaye said.

An average Israeli consumes 430 liters of water per day while a Palestinian only consumes 72 liters, much less than the global average of 120 liters, the Palestinian prime minister noted.

After 1967, "Israel began digging water wells in the West Bank deeper than the Palestinian ones, which led to its control of most of the groundwater and the drying of the springs," Ishtaye said.

Such Israeli measures have affected the transformation of the agricultural pattern in Palestine, he added.

Israel has yet to respond to Ishtaye's allegations.

Water is one of the major issues between Palestinians and Israelis in their peace negotiations that have been stalled since 2014.

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