Time: 10:00 Jerusalem
Al Mezan Condemns Israel’s Manipulation of Natural Flow of Water into the Gaza Strip and Demands Cessation of the Practice
At about 11:00am on Thursday, 9 January 2020, Israel opened the gates of rainwater collection dams, flooding large swaths of lands in the eastern part of North Gaza District. As a result, for the second time within a week (the first being on 5 January), the flooding damaged crops, greenhouses, poultry farms, and apiaries in eastern Jabalia and Beit Hanoun. Initial assessments conducted by the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture estimates that a total area of one thousand dunams of field crops have been affected.
Israel has built a number of dams in its territory to control and redirect the natural flow of water away from the Gaza Strip. When these dams are at risk of overflowing during heavy rainfall, their gates are opened—without warning—resulting in sudden flow of water into low-lying lands in the Gaza Strip. Similar incidents were reported over the years in other parts of the Gaza Strip, mainly in the Gaza Valley (Wadi Gaza) in the southern part of Gaza District where significant damage to homes, lands, and farms in its vicinity was documented.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemns Israel’s systematic policy of denying Palestinians access to natural resources, including by manipulating the natural flow of water into the Gaza Strip. Israel, the occupying power, is responsible for the material and moral damage inflicted on Palestinians as a result of its detrimental actions.
Al Mezan maintains that Israel’s ongoing impoundment of rainwater in artificial dams and repeated sudden release of water into the Gaza Strip exemplify the occupation’s disregard of the safety and livelihood of Palestinians. Accordingly, Al Mezan calls on the international community to uphold its moral and legal obligations and intervene to put an end to Israeli violations. The International community must ensure that the occupying power respects the rules of international law, particularly through ensuring the safety and security of the civilian population and by providing fair access to legal remedies for those affected by its actions.