FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Destroying Gaza’s Water System

by

Palestinians in Gaza are starting to awake from the shell-shock of Israel’s 51-day Ramadan Massacre which left over 2,131 Palestinians killed (of which over 500 were children), over 10,000 injured (more than half of whom are estimated to be permanently handicapped), and scores of homes and businesses demolished. Reality is bleaker than ever before. Nothing of the underlying reasons why Gaza exploded into a bloodbath has changed. Israeli and Egyptian closures of Gaza’s borders remain in place. However, one product is making its way freely across the border into Israel. Actually, this product flows undetected by the almighty Israeli military and rolls right up on to the shores of Tel Aviv. The product is Palestinian shit, or more accurately, to maintain the media bias of the times, Palestinian terrorist shit.

We Palestinians have no love affair with the Israelis relaxing on the shores of Tel Aviv. Many of these Israelis have no problem being high-tech professionals in the morning, throwing on their military uniform and participating in turning Gaza into a living hell on earth in the afternoon, then going for a relaxing swim with the family on the shores of Tel Aviv in the evening. However, we would advise Israelis, and all tourists to Israel for that matter, to please stop swimming in our shit. This practice is not only unhealthy for you and your children, but it is killing us, literally and figuratively.begging slogans5

In a new policy brief titled, Drying Palestine: Israel’s Systemic Water War, issued by Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network, Muna Dajani writes from Jerusalem of the damage that consecutive Israeli military aggressions have made to Gaza’s water systems:

“95% of the water that Palestinians in Gaza have been consuming for decades has been proven unfit for human consumption. Electricity shortages that have lasted for almost a decade have limited water treatment capacity and thus the availability of water to households, as well as increased the discharge of untreated wastewater into the sea. Even before the summer assault on Gaza, 90 million liters of untreated or partially treated wastewater were being dumped and continue to be dumped into the [Mediterranean] sea each day due to insufficient treatment facilities.”

While the Israeli government continues to maintain a total closure on the Gaza Strip, there is no chance the electricity needed to run the water and wastewater networks will be operational anytime soon.

In her policy brief, Ms. Dajani also depicts the water war being waged in the West Bank. She notes:

“According to the Palestine-based coalition, Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Palestine (EWASH), between 2009 and 2011, 173 different pieces of water, sanitation, or hygiene infrastructure were demolished, including the confiscation of water tankers, which are used as an emergency measure when access to water is prohibited. Beyond the Israeli military’s systematic targeting of infrastructure in Area C [62% of the West Bank], residents of the illegal Jewish-only settlements have also been carrying out acts of vandalism and destruction that specifically target Palestinian water sources and frequently taking over natural springs for their own recreational use. Settlers can be seen as acting within a clear Israeli policy that sees such targeting of water resources as an acceptable method of warfare.”

israelibeach

The damage being done has long-term effects, as Ms. Dajani goes on to write:

“Many [Palestinian] communities depend on basic water sources such as wells, springs, and cisterns to meet domestic needs; oftentimes this infrastructure was built decades, if not millennia, earlier and is badly in need of repair. Hundreds of such communities in the West Bank suffer from deliberate damage and destruction of their water sources. Rainwater cisterns, wells, irrigation systems, and water networks built in the pre-Roman period have been targets of Israeli military forces. The effects of destroying the water infrastructure are not limited to disease, absence of basic life necessities, loss of income, or development opportunities. Over the long term, Israel’s targeting of water infrastructure also deeply influences the relationship that Palestinians have with their land. By depriving farmers of water, they drive them off their land. Denying herders access to age-old cisterns cuts off traditional livelihoods and depletes resource-rich villages of jobs, families, and traditions.”

Given the Palestinian economy today is a donor-driven economy, Ms. Dajani is correct in her below statement to point to donors in an attempt to stop this Israeli aggression on our water system. Until donor funds reverse their political tendency from acquiescence to the Israeli occupation and assume the indigenous populations’ legal rights as part of their intervention mandate, nothing will change.

“Donor intervention in the water field must go from providing temporary solutions to putting active political pressure on Israel so that its military forces cease their strategic destruction of water infrastructure. Money could then be invested in long-term development of infrastructure that would politically empower Palestinian communities at the grassroots, ensure access to clean water, and allow for the economic development of both the industrial and agricultural sectors. If Palestinians and the donor community could be assured that infrastructure was immune from Israeli attacks, the tides would turn on a policy that has left Palestinians high and dry.”

The mass majority of Jewish Israelis prefer to just ignore anything Palestinian; to them we are invisible. Ever since the founding of the state of Israel, the policy has been clear: uproot the Palestinian population using all means possible, legal and illegal, destroy Palestinian villages in an attempt to erase the crime, and rebrand anything left, like city and street names, in a policy the Israel government has long ago identified as Judaization of the country.

Sadly, this conflict will not end soon. In the meantime, Israelis, please inform your kids not to swallow the seawater.

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American business consultant in Ramallah and serves as a policy adviser to Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. He blogs at ePalestine.com.

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American business consultant in Ramallah and serves as a policy adviser to Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. He was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio and blogs at ePalestine.com.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 30, 2017
William R. Polk
What Must be Done in the Time of Trump
Howard Lisnoff
Enough of Russia! There’s an Epidemic of Despair in the US
Ralph Nader
Crash of Trumpcare Opens Door to Full Medicare for All
Carol Polsgrove
Gorsuch and the Power of the Executive: Behind the Congressional Stage, a Legal Drama Unfolds
Michael J. Sainato
Fox News Should Finally Dump Bill O’Reilly
Kenneth Surin
Former NC Governor Pat McCory’s Job Search Not Going Well
Binoy Kampmark
The Price of Liberation: Slaughtering Civilians in Mosul
Bruce Lesnick
Good Morning America!
William Binney and Ray McGovern
The Surveillance State Behind Russia-gate: Will Trump Take on the Spooks?
Jill Richardson
Gutting Climate Protections Won’t Bring Back Coal Jobs
Robert Pillsbury
Maybe It’s Time for Russia to Send Us a Wake-Up Call
Prudence Crowther
Swamp Rats Sue Trump
March 29, 2017
Jeffrey Sommers
Donald Trump and Steve Bannon: Real Threats More Serious Than Fake News Trafficked by Media
David Kowalski
Does Washington Want to Start a New War in the Balkans?
Patrick Cockburn
Bloodbath in West Mosul: Civilians Being Shot by Both ISIS and Iraqi Troops
Ron Forthofer
War and Propaganda
Matthew Stevenson
Letter From Phnom Penh
James Bovard
Peanuts Prove Congress is Incorrigible
Thomas Knapp
Presidential Golf Breaks: Good For America
Binoy Kampmark
Disaster as Joy: Cyclone Debbie Strikes
Peter Tatchell
Human Rights are Animal Rights!
George Wuerthner
Livestock Grazing vs. the Sage Grouse
Jesse Jackson
Trump Should Form a Bipartisan Coalition to Get Real Reforms
Thomas Mountain
Rwanda Indicts French Generals for 1994 Genocide
Clancy Sigal
President of Pain
Andrew Stewart
President Gina Raimondo?
Lawrence Wittner
Can Our Social Institutions Catch Up with Advances in Science and Technology?
March 28, 2017
Mike Whitney
Ending Syria’s Nightmare will Take Pressure From Below 
Mark Kernan
Memory Against Forgetting: the Resonance of Bloody Sunday
John McMurtry
Fake News: the Unravelling of US Empire From Within
Ron Jacobs
Mad Dog, Meet Eris, Queen of Strife
Michael J. Sainato
State Dept. Condemns Attacks on Russian Peaceful Protests, Ignores Those in America
Ted Rall
Five Things the Democrats Could Do to Save Their Party (But Probably Won’t)
Linn Washington Jr.
Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Hiring Practices: Privilege or Prejudice?
Philippe Marlière
Benoît Hamon, the Socialist Presidential Hopeful, is Good News for the French Left
Norman Pollack
Political Cannibalism: Eating America’s Vitals
Bruce Mastron
Obamacare? Trumpcare? Why Not Cubacare?
David Macaray
Hollywood Screen and TV Writers Call for Strike Vote
Christian Sorensen
We’ve Let Capitalism Kill the Planet
Rodolfo Acuna
What We Don’t Want to Know
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of the Electronics Ban
Andrew Moss
Why ICE Raids Imperil Us All
March 27, 2017
Robert Hunziker
A Record-Setting Climate Going Bonkers
Frank Stricker
Why $15 an Hour Should be the Absolute Minimum Minimum Wage
Melvin Goodman
The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail