Student Group Advocates for Water Rights with HuffPo Article
Fordham Law 3L Rebecca Iwerks wrote an op-ed about Bedouin water access for the Huffington Post on March 22, world water day. Iwerks is one of seven students that form the Bedouin Advocacy Project, a student-run independent study that included a water and land rights fact-finding trip to Israel and the West Bank over Spring Break. The students’ work continues a similar project conducted by Fordham Law students last year.
According to Iwerks, Bedouin in Israel and Palestine are subjected to discriminatory policies that deny them equal–or sometimes even sufficient–access to water.
The Israeli Civil Administration systematically denies thousands of Bedouin in the South Hebron Hills access to drinking water. The Palestinian Authority, limited by the transitional powers of the stalled Oslo accords, can do little to increase water access without Israeli approval. Similarly, inside of Israel, the Israeli government has created policies that require Bedouins to pay up to twice as much as their non-Bedouin neighbors for minimal access to water.
The article was published in conjunction with President Obama’s visit to Israel. Iwerks not only highlights the policies of Israel that deny equal access to Bedouin but calls on the United States to use its influence to pressure Israel to revise the legislation and regulation that impacts the Bedouin communities in both the Negev desert and the West Bank.
In order to build the trust necessary for peace negotiations, the United States must use its influence as the major funder of the Israeli government to demand that Israel provide clean water access to everyone living in Israel and in the West Bank. To deny people basic access to water is not only a cruel violation of human rights, but also a sure path to further discord and resentment.
Read the full opinion at the Huffington Post