Palestinians prepare to lose the solar panels that provide a lifeline

Phoebe Greenwood in The Guardian:

ScreenHunter_01 Mar. 14 13.44The problem for Palestinian communities here is that permission to build any infrastructure is very hard to come by. According to figures from the civil administration quoted by the pressure group Peace Now, 91 permits were issued for Palestinian construction in Area C between 2001 and 2007. In the same period, more than 10,000 Israeli settlement units were built and1,663 Palestinian structures demolished.

The Jewish settlements in Area C are connected to the national water and electricity grids. But most Palestinian villages are cut off from basic infrastructure, including water and sewage services. Imneizil, which borders the ultra-religious settlement of Beit Yatir, currently has nine demolition orders on various structures, including a toilet block and water cistern for the school.

Comet ME is an Israeli NGO trying to circumvent these crippling restrictions on Palestinian development by harnessing Hebron's abundant natural energy sources – wind and sun.

Funded largely by the German government, the organisation has already provided tens of Palestinian villages with electricity through solar panels and wind turbines. Its goal is to reach all villages in the southern Hebron area by the end of 2013.

More here.