Limitations on Developing Infrastructure in the West Bank
Regarding water resources and infrastructure development and management, the Oslo Accords were intended to give Palestinians greater access to water resources. Unfortunately, under the prevailing conditions, the PWA is not able to manage and develop its own water resources.
As mentioned in the political context, in accordance with Article 40 of the Oslo Accords, any proposed management measures, investments or infrastructure projects pertaining to the development of the water or sanitation sectors within Palestine are subject to the approval of the JWC. In theory, the implementation of any project in the West Bank needs Palestinian and Israeli agreement. In reality, the Israeli Civil Administration has veto power over the JWC.
A high proportion of Palestinian projects were rejected or delayed by the JWC over the 13-year period from 1996 to 2009 (see Political Context). In contrast, water projects for the Jewish West Bank settlements do not require JWC approval. Since 2010, the JWC has ceased to operate at all. The PWA accused it of being used to blackmail the Palestinians into approving Jewish settlements, and stated it could not continue to attend meetings as long as the JWC was not reformed.[i] This has caused more delays in implementing projects in the West Bank as donors will not fund any project that has not secured JWC approval.
[i] Attili, S., 2015. Head of the PWA 2008-14. Personal communication.