Ramallah: Despite approval by the Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank, the Israeli National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalon has refused to connect the newly built Palestinian Rawabi city near Ramallah to the water network.

Rawabi is the first Palestinian-planned city in the West Bank, which is located near Birzeit and Ramallah.

Palestinians accuse Shalom of blackmailing authorities by attaching approval to connecting water to Rawabi to approval to connecting water in other Israeli colonies in the West Bank.

Shalom demanded written approval from the Palestinian government to allow water projects for colonies. Palestinians of course reject this move accusing the Israeli regime of trying to ‘force Palestinians to legalise colony activities in the West Bank’.

Other Palestinians say the move is a campaign manouver to tying in with the upcoming Israeli elections.

According to the Oslo Accords, Palestinian water and sewage projects are tackled by a joint Palestinian-Israel Water Committee which the Palestinians froze in 2010 following Israeli insistence that the committee tackle water and sewage for Israeli colonies in the same way it did water and sewage for Palestinian cities and towns.