Image having the soil you live on, the water you drink, and the food you eat contaminated by toxic pesticides. Your entire family would be at risk for consuming these toxins.  For many centuries, people suffered from having unsafe water, dangerous food, and contaminated soil.  But then nations and international organizations developed controls designed to protect people from the risks of contamination.  

It is now a basic human right that everyone is entitled to clean drinking water. “The human right to water entitles everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic uses”, (UN CESC – General Comment 15, para.2). On July 28th 2010 the United Nations recognized The Human Right to Water and Sanitation.   

Not all of the countries in the world are, however, observing the United Nation’s standard.  According to recent news reports, Israeli authorities have been illegally producing and dumping toxic chemicals into Palestinian territories. It was discovered that these illegal pesticides have also been traded and thus used by Palestinians.  This is a pressing issue because of the impact these chemicals can have upon men, women, and children and also because the practice undercuts the moral authority of an Israeli society that depends upon widespread international support for its existence.

Palestinian authorities have recently discovered that 50 percent of the pesticides that are used in the territory are illegal. These pesticides are being used for agricultural purposes within mostly illegal settlements. This means that the water sources and farms that are anywhere near where these pesticides are used or dumped have been contaminated. Many of the chemicals that have been found in soils and waterways are located near Palestinian schools.

Palestinian authorities are struggling because they do not have access to full information about these chemicals or about what can be done about the contaminated soil and water. The chemicals are apparently being produced in illegal factories that are not inspected. The situation is especially difficult for the Palestinians because they do not know what can be done to get rid of these chemicals and may not have the resources they need to clean up the soil and water supplies.

This issue is not just about pesticides. This violation of human rights is part of an intense, ongoing conflict between the Palestinian government and its supporters and the Israeli government and its supporters (including the United States). While Israel has been forced to fight to maintain its state since it was first declared a country after World War II, that struggle does not justify behavior that flies in the face of the United Nations and the regulations that protect most of the world from contaminated water and soil.