Israel’s control over natural resources biggest challenge for Palestinian development: president

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday that Israel’s control over the Palestinian natural resources is the biggest challenge for his country to develop and promote its economy.

Abbas made the remarks in a speech on the occasion of the World Water Day, which falls on March 22 and highlights the importance of fresh water.

“The Israeli occupation threatens our country through its control over our land and resources,” Abbas said.

Preserving and developing water resources “is one of the most important symbols of sovereignty and independence,” he added.

“The water issue is one of the major issues in the permanent status negotiations in the region that cannot be relinquished, and resolving it can only be through international law,” the Palestinian president noted.

According to Abbas, a total of 93 water and sanitation projects have been accomplished during the past two years in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, at the cost of more than 672 million U.S. dollars.

He called on the international donors to continue their support for the central water station in the Gaza Strip to help end the water crisis in the besieged Palestinian enclave.