The Sun Belongs to Everyone: Israeli Demolitions and Confiscations of Solar Panel Aid Projects in Area C of the West Bank

Saturday, 17 March 2018 14:29
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Al-Haq’s latest report, ‘The Sun Belongs to Everyone: Israeli Demolitions and Confiscations of Solar Panel Aid Projects in Area C of the West Bank’ examines Israel's discriminatory dismantling of Palestine's solar energy in the West Bank and the human rights violations which stem from Israel's targeting and destruction of solar energy panels across the West Bank.

Receiving on average eight and a half hours of sun every day, Palestine’s abundance of sunlight combined with the open and expansive landscapes of the West Bank, give rise to enormous potential in solar energy generation. For many Palestinian communities in Area C, which constitutes over 60 percent of the West Bank, power harnessed through solar energy is the only source of electricity available. Where the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) has denied Palestinian communities access to the nearby electricity networks, solar panels serve to power refrigerators necessary to preserve medication and food, heat water, and provide lighting for children to study, amongst other uses. In these circumstances, solar energy does not function as a supplemental source of power but rather constitutes a last resort measure to meet basic human needs.

According to the Interim Agreements between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel (the ‘Oslo Accords’), Israel is responsible for constructing infrastructure and providing civil services (except for medical services and education) in Area C of the occupied West Bank.Yet, the ICA denies Palestinian communities in Area C from accessing existing electric grids and constructing their own, thereby effectively rendering them ‘off-grid communities.’ The Israeli Government’s failure to provide these Palestinian communities with access to electricity does not arise from its inability to offer energy resources but forms part of a multifaceted system of discriminatory restrictions designed to isolate, harass, and oppress Palestinians, creating coercive environments to force their transfer. This is evidenced by the fact that while Palestinian communities are denied connection to electric girds, nearby illegal Israeli settlements are provided with full access to stable electricity as well as alternative sources of power.