Battle for basic services in occupied Palestine

Wiring the turbine
Tomer Appelbaum

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This week the UN released a report revealing that 17,000 homes and other buildings in part of the occupied Palestinian West Bank known as Area C are under threat of demolition by Israel. It reiterates the shocking vulnerability of Palestinians living in Area C, which covers 60 per cent of the West Bank and is under full Israeli control.
Life in Area C can be brutal for Palestinians. The UN reports that over 70 per cent of communities are not connected to the water grid, many have no electricity, and around six thousand people live within Israeli ‘firing zones’ used by the military. An Israeli-Palestinian NGO sets up small-scale renewable energy and clean water systems for Palestinians living high in the hills of Mount Hebron, in the southern West Bank. Elad Orian, the cofounder of Comet-ME, tells me “the Israeli authorities have been trying for a long while to drive these people off their land”. Withholding energy and water is part of this “political campaign”, he says.
The off-grid energy systems Comet-ME builds tap into this arid region’s intense sunshine and strong winds to produce clean, sustainable energy for homesteads and villages. As Orian explains in this audio interview, access to a small amount of energy each day can transform lives and livelihoods, particularly for women, who carry out the bulk of domestic tasks and who take care of cheese production that is the staple of livelihoods here.
Explore this SciDev.Net image gallery to see Comet-ME projects in action.


Under threat: Demolition orders in Area C of the West Bank (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs occupied Palestinian territory, September 2015)