US stalls key sewage project in Palestine city of Jericho; massive water contamination likely
Washington, Jan 24: It has been seen how the current US administration led by President Donald Trump has taken an openly pro-Israel stance and snubbed Palestinians. Besides declaring the contested city of Jerusalem as the capital of Jewish Israel and relocating the US Embassy to Israel to that city, Trump came down heavily on the people of Palestine when the Palestinian Authority (PA) objected to the move. Aid to the PA was slashed and also the UN Relief and Works Agency was deprived of assistance for the Palestinian refugees. It was also announced that the five million Palestinian refugees who are scattered throughout Palestine and other neighbouring states are not legal refugees at all.
Now, the Trump administration has taken things to another low.
According to Washington-based National Public Radio, Washington has stalled an emergency work to give the finishing touches to a multi-million dollar sewage network in the city of Jericho in the West Bank. The project is set to be buried under asphalt and abandoned. Also an under-construction school in the Bethlehem area is set to be dumped or destroyed.
As per a report in countercurrents.org, Sean Carroll, the head of the US-funded aid group Anera which has been carrying out the school project admitted of having received a notification from Washington that it may have to demolish the school. Also, USAID, which monitors these projects, is set to lay off most of its local staff members within months, according to US officials on spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Dave Harden, the man who looked after the US aid programmes in the Palestinian territories during the time of Barack Obama, had a straight take on the matter. "To abandon schools and water systems while in the midst of construction represents the worst instincts of this administration. This peace team has no shame," he was quoted as saying.
Jericho desperately needed the sewage project since only 15 per cent of the city is linked to sewage treatment. "When most Palestinians in the city flush their toilets, the waste drops into private pits next to their homes. Sometimes these pits overflow, and there is a risk that untreated sewage can seep into and contaminate groundwater," he was quoted as saying.
Jericho's Mayor Salem Ghrouf was also disappointed to see the US doing such a thing of stopping funding for an important project like the sewage project.