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        General Assembly
        Security Council

7 July 1987


Forty-second session
Item 76 of the preliminary list*
Forty-second year

Letter dated 6 July 1987 from the Permanent Representative of Jordan
to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General

I wish to inform you of the new plan, which is being implemented by the Israeli occupation authorities, to seize control of the ground-water resources in the occupied Arab territories, particularly in the area of Bethlehem. It was recently revealed that one stage in this plan provides for a well to be dug, to a depth of 1,000 metres, in an area south-east of Bethlehem and for the ground water to be pumped to the western half of the occupied city of Jerusalem and the Israeli settlement colonies in that area. The Israeli water company, Mekorot, has signed a contract with an American technology and energy company called Moriah for execution of the project, which will enable the Israeli occupation authorities to pump a quantity of 18 million cubic metres of water each year.

This project, which was broached two years ago, enjoys strong support from the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture, which controls the water authority, and the Israeli Minister of Defence recently approved implementation of the plan.

In this connection, I should like to draw your attention to the following facts:

1. The Israeli action is part of a major plan, the object of which is to gain control over all sources of fresh surface and ground water in those Arab territories which have been occupied since 1967. Official Israeli assessments indicate that 42 per cent of the fresh water pumped out in the occupied territories each year goes to the Israeli settlement colonies in the occupied territories, where it is used for irrigation and drinking.

2. Israel is digging wells in the areas where ground water flows towards the Jordan Valley (east of the watershed in the occupied West Bank), in an attempt to consume and deplete those resources and to preserve ground-water resources in the areas where water flows towards the Mediterranean Sea (west of the watershed in the occupied West Bank), most of which have been under its control since 1948.

3. The Israeli action will result in harm being done to the water resources and wells feeding the Bethlehem area, which do not extend far below the surface of the earth. The planned Israeli wells are to be dug to a depth of up to 1,000 metres below the surface, with the result that domestic consumption of water for the population of Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Beit Sahur and neighbouring villages, as well as a part of the Hebron area, will be adversely affected. Furthermore, damage will be done to agriculture and the various sectors of the Arab population's economy.

4. The Israeli plan constitutes a flagrant violation of Convention IV of The Hague of 1907 and the Geneva Convention relative to the protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949, with respect to the obligations and responsibilities of the Occupying Power.

5. The Israeli plan constitutes a violation of the purposes and objectives of the Stockholm Declaration of 1972, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 15 December 1972, and of the World Charter for Nature, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 28 October 1982 (resolution 37/7) .

6. The Israeli plan constitutes a crude challenge to the following United Nations General Assembly and Security Council resolutions:

(a) Security Council resolution 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980, particularly paragraph 8.

(b) General Assembly resolution 38/144 or 19 December 1983, relating to permanent sovereignty over national resources in the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories, including water and water resources.

(c) General Assembly resolutions 41/63 A-G of 3 December 1986.

7. The plan is also incompatible with the decision of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme at its fourteenth session in Nairobi, the Council adopted a decision, on 19 June 1987, on the deteriorating environmental situation in the occupied territories and drew attention to the seizure of water resources by the occupation authorities and the negative consequences of that action for the environment.

In view of the implications and the dangers arising from implementation of this plan and in the light of the consistent and principled position of the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in such matters concerning the rights and interests of the people in the occupied portion of our country, we request your immediate and direct intervention to halt these arbitrary Israeli measures.

While protesting vigorously at these Israeli violations, the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan reserves its right to request that a meeting of the Security Council be convened at some time in the future to examine the negative economic, political and legal implications of the Israeli plan.

I should be grateful if you would have this letter circulated as an official document of the General Assembly, under item 76 of the preliminary list, and of the Security Council.
(Signed) Abdullah SALAH
Permanent Representative




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