News Briefs

Al Mezan Issues a report on 'The Impact of the Israeli Offensive on the Right to Water in the Gaza Strip'

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26 April 2009 |Reference 18/2009

The Gaza Strip is facing a severe water crisis, brought on by the decades of Israel abusing Gaza's resources and its siege policies, limiting incoming goods and equipment necessary for the water sector to treat sewage and provide the community with clean drinking water.
Since 1967 Israel's policies have caused the serious deterioration in the quality and quantity of the water and sanitation system in the Gaza Strip as well as the West Bank.
Since the strengthening of the siege in 2006, the situation has become increasingly worse, and the most recent Israeli Offensive, Operation Cast Lead, in December 08/January 09 has pushed the situation to the brink of disaster.
  Prior to the Offensive the Israeli Government was provided with the locations of all major water infrastructures, in the hope that it would avoid bombarding these locations.
However, during the Offensive the IOF did not avoid key water installations and IOF attacks led to the destruction of 112 wells, thousands of meters of pipes and several key water tanks.
As a result, the entire population suffered from limited access to clean water for the entirety of the Offensive, while a third of the population had no running water whatsoever.
Since the end of the Offensive, Israel has continued to refuse the entry of equipment needed to repair the damage it caused, and to build new infrastructure to cater to the increasing Gazan population.
  This report examines the devastating effects that the siege and most recently Operation Cast Lead has had on the access to clean water in Gaza.
One of the worst consequences has been the pollution of the Gaza aquifer, which will have long-term negative impacts on the health of the Gazan population and access to clean water.
The report also looks at the affects of limited electricity on the water sector, and how it is yet another factor contributing to the violation of Gazans' right to health and to water.
The report stresses the obligations of Israel to immediately allow in the material needed to repair the damage done to the water sector, as well as to build new facilities to deal with the growing population and to minimize the damage being done to the aquifer and the environment.
  A full copy of the report is available at http://www.
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