Water, NGOs and the BBC

The topic of water most recently appeared in BBC coverage in Lyse Doucet’s series of reports on the city of Rawabi (see here and here) but the subject has also featured in numerous previous BBC reports – see examples here, here, here and here.???????????????????

Some of those reports rely on information supplied by NGOs such as Friends of the Earth Middle East and B’Tselem and as we know, the BBC’s approach to NGOs does not usually include any meaningful examination of their underlying political agenda before information is repeated and amplified.

Given that uncritical BBC approach, a new report by NGO Monitor on the politicization of the issue of water by NGOs makes for particularly interesting reading.

“Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have increased their exploitation of the water issue in their political warfare campaigns against Israel. This includes false accusations of water “discrimination” and “stealing water”; pressure on international corporations to boycott the Israeli national water company, Mekorot; and blatant distortions of binding international agreements between Israelis and Palestinians. […]

Unfortunately, despite the existence of cooperation between Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians, water has also become a destructive weapon in the hands of political advocacy NGOs, which use allegations regarding water rights and availability as part of their delegitimization and anti-normalization campaigns against Israel. NGOs present a distorted narrative of the water issue, ignoring the negotiated agreements between Israel and the Palestinians (e.g. the 1995 interim agreement, “Oslo II”) that determine water arrangements, internal Palestinian dynamics, and other complexities – in order to falsely accuse Israel of violating international law relating to water rights, while in reality Israel’s supply of water to the Palestinians is actually “far beyond its [Israel’s] obligation in the Water Agreement.” […]

The NGOs leading these campaigns include Al Haq, Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), BADIL, Coalition of Women for Peace/Who Profits, and EWASH (a coalition of Palestinian NGOs, international development organizations, and UN agencies). International and European NGOs, such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and United Civilians for Peace (UCP – an umbrella group comprised of Dutch NGOs ICCO, Oxfam Novib, Pax (formerly IKV Pax Christi), and Cordaid), also accuse Israel of denying the Palestinians “fair access to water” and make distorted claims regarding Israel’s alleged obligations vis-à-vis Palestinian water rights.”

Readers can find the report here or a pdf version here

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