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"It is worth focusing on one of the many tendentious claims in HRW’s report to illustrate the unfortunately frequent validity of official Israel’s sense of grievance. The report takes Israel to task for a purportedly discriminatory water allocation policy. HRW stated that, “Average Israeli per capita consumption of water, including water consumption, by settlers is 4.3 times that of Palestinians in the occupied territories (including Gaza).” This is true, as far as it goes: Per capita water consumption among Palestinians is 70 liters a day, compared to Israel’s average per person of 300 liters a day. What HRW failed to mention, however, is that access to piped water has dramatically improved in recent decades and is significantly better than in Syria or Jordan, which would have been in control of the West Bank had it not attacked Israeli in 1967." "Such skewed treatment of Israel’s water policy is a microcosm of HRW’s wider failings, which were recently detailed to shocking effect in a lecture (republished on these pages on November 25) by its outraged founder Robert Bernstein. Not only does HRW’s obsessive and antagonistic focus misrepresent Israel, it is also counterproductive to the Palestinian cause. By Israeli standards, the amount of water available to Palestinians, while higher than many developing countries, is inadequate. But what HRW deliberately fails to acknowledge is that this is a consequence of a complex reality that includes Palestinian negligence."