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Israel to cut vital services to 140,000 Palestinians in Jerusalem al-Quds

A Palestinian woman is walking past garbage along a section of the separation barrier in Shuafat refugee camp in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds, May 17, 2017. (Photo by AP)

The Israeli regime is to cut off water supply and other vital services to a pair of crowded districts of East Jerusalem al-Quds in the occupied West Bank, even though the sanitation condition in those areas is alarmingly deteriorating.

According to Jerusalem Affairs and Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin on Monday, Tel Aviv's plan to improve conditions of the city does not include two very large areas that are situated beyond the so-called separation barrier, namely Shuafat refugee camp plus its environs, and Kafr Aqab neighborhood.

The much-criticized separation barrier, erected a decade ago, cuts off Jerusalem al-Quds and some settlement blocks from the remainder of the occupied West Bank. The provocative measure, since its highly controversial imposition, has sparked numerous protests by Palestinians in the West Bank, including by those living in the city.

It is estimated that over a third of Jerusalem al-Quds' population, some 140,000 people, live in the two impoverished neighborhoods, 60,000 of whom residing in Kafr Aqab.

The $49.5-million plan, which was approved at a special cabinet session over the weekend, is aimed at addressing household waste disposal, construction debris and sewerage infrastructures.

Since the establishment of the so-called separation wall, Israeli authorities, principally those of the Jerusalem Municipality, have refused to provide regular services to Shuafat and Kafr Aqab. The discriminative policy has led to the increased sanitation problems in the two areas, as the garbage piles up, sewage flows in the streets and the water supply is problematic.

Residents of Kafr Aqab said that there had been inconsistent fresh water supply for the previous two months.

Meanwhile, Palestine's Water and Sewerage Company said that Mekorot, Israel's water company, was not pumping sufficient water to the two districts, adding that it also refused to issue new water access license for desperate applicants.

Munir Abu Ashraf, a member of Kafr Aqab's council, said that the water cut might last for five consecutive days, prompting the residents to save water in personal reservoirs, which can contain as much as 1,500 liters.

However, he warned that the large number of reservoirs on the roofs would mean that the collapse of a whole building, consisting of over 30 housing units, could be looming in the horizon.

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