WASHINGTON- Israel is stealing water from Syria and is blocking Palestinian access to water resources, this according to a National Geographic photo exhibit in Los Angeles.
The "Water – Our Thirsty World" exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography is generally non-political, apart from nine photos taken in the West Bank, the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea areas.
The caption under one of the photos reads, "Israelis relax by the Sea of Galilee, a lake near the Golan Heights that is fed by the Jordan River and that supplies a third of Israel’s fresh water. Since 1967, Israel has blocked Syria’s access to the shoreline."
The caption under another photo reads, "At a water park in Tiberias, Israelis bask in the resource’s relative abundance. A 2009 World Bank report said Israelis use four times as much water per capita as Palestinians. Israel has disputed this, saying its citizens use only twice as much."
The exhibit also features a photo of a Palestinian woman drawing water from a well. The caption reads, "A source of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, water is emblematic of their unequal relationship. During dry summers, West Bank Palestinians—restricted to shallow wells by Israel’s occupation—have to buy groundwater tapped from beneath them."
The caption under a photo showing Christians bathing in the Jordan River reads, "Christian pilgrims immerse themselves in the lower Jordan, where Jesus is believed to have been baptized. With fresh water being diverted to cities and farms up north, this stretch of the river has almost no clean water."
The caption of another photo showing Christian pilgrims bathing in the same area reads, "Israeli border police stand guard on the Jordan River’s western bank. Over on the Jordanian side, churches and a tourist center commemorate the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism."
Israeli Consul General in Los Angeles Jacob Dayan sent a complaint letter to the owners of the Annenberg Space for Photography, saying the venue is being used as a political tool to spread lies about Israel's part in the global effort to provide clean and fresh drinking water.
The diplomat added that the exhibit falsely depicts Israel as a country that steals water while its neighbors suffer from a drought. The opposite is true, wrote the consul general.