His Excellency the Prime Minister, Dr. Mohammad Ishtayya
Subject: The Suffering of the People of Al-Jeftlek
MUSAWA- The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession extends its warmest greetings to your Excellency, noting that the people of Al-Jeftlek are facing serious problems that deprive them of their constitutional and human rights, which requires your direct involvement and taking the suitable legal action in confronting these problems and finding legal solutions that safeguard the rights of Al-Jeftlek people.
At the outset, we note that Al-Jeftlek is a village located in the marginalized areas of the Southern Marshes, 40 km away from the city of Jericho, and that its residents suffer from a scarcity of services and dire humanitarian situation. In the light of the mentioned circumstances, MUSAWA, along with a number of representatives of Civil Society Organizations and the Independent Commission for Human Rights, have visited the village on 26/3/2019, and have met the president of its Village Council, Mr. Ahmad Ghawanmeh, and a council member, to discuss the problems facing the village and make the residents’ voices heard by decision makers.
The village suffers from water pollution, given that Nablus Municipality has recently started to dump the sewage of wastewater into the water springs of a group of villages, including Ein Shebli, Al-Nassareyyah, Ein Al-Far’ a and Al-Jeflek. Those water springs are used for drinking and irrigating the plants spread across 17000 dunums of agricultural land, which are a source of livelihood for Al-Jeftlek’s residents. The head of the village council informed MUSAWA that the council had addressed Jericho’s governor more than once, and has sent him several letters on the problem of water pollution, but the problem is, unfortunately, not yet addressed, while the responses of the governor were limited to communicating with Nablus Municipality, followed with a number of repeated promises without any results on the ground. On the contrary, the people of Al-Jeflek were struck by the decision of Nablus Municipality to cut off their water supply for the village (The springs’ water), which was attempted to come into force by officials in Nablus Municipality. Al-Jeflek people have tried to prevent the implementation of that decision, and their attempts resulted in holding a meeting a few days ago without any results worth mentioning. In order to preserve the civil peace, to guarantee the citizens’ right to live, and to prevent them from being exposed to serious health risks, MUSAWA hopes that your government will get officially involved to solve the problem as soon as possible.
On the other hand, Al-Jeftlek lacks a civil defense center, although the building of that center has been built two years ago at the request of the competent bodies, as none of the competent public employees was appointed to work in it duly. The head of the council believes that the center needs only five employees to manage its work, especially that the village is 40 km away from Jericho’s center, in which the nearest hospital to the village is located, raising the urgent need for civil defense vehicles in order to be used in such emergencies, in order to help Al-Jefltik’s residents to withstand the Israeli occupation’s attempts to displace them and confiscate their lands.
MUSAWA hopes that you address our memo and take the legal actions and decisions needed to end the suffering of Al-Jeftlik’s people, starting with their right to have potable water for drinking and agriculture, their right to receive treatment, their right to activate the civil defense center by providing the human and logistic resources needed to initiate the center’s work, remarking that the right to life, health and remain are inherent rights guaranteed by the Basic Law, particularly in article 10 that provided for “1- Basic human rights and liberties shall be protected and respected.2- The Palestinian National Authority shall work without delay to become a party to regional and international declarations and covenants that protect human rights.”, in addition to other constitutional rights provide in the second part of the Basic Law, not to mention the government’s duties in providing services for all of its citizens, particularly in the fields of health, education, and transportation .. etc. Furthermore, the government needs to intervene in order to settle the dispute between the people of Al-Jeftlik and Nablus Municipality, thereby preventing dumping the sewage of wastewater into the drinking and agriculture water, and to hold the ones responsible for the contamination of drinking water accountable for endangering the lives of the citizens, on the understanding that “The enjoyment of a balanced and clean environment is a human right. The preservation and protection of the Palestinian environment from pollution for the sake of present and future generations is a national duty.”, which was provided in article 33 of the Basic Law. Hoping that you announce the actions taken in this regard duly.
With All Due Respect
Issued on 21/4/2019
Legal Monitoring Officer
Adv. Angham Mansour.