by Zafar Bangash (Editorials, Crescent International Vol. 45, No. 12, Jumada' al-Ula', 1438)
The 1.8 million people of Gaza are already starved, now they face an acute shortage of water as well. At least 90% of water in Gaza is unfit for drinking posing a serious risk to their health.
The tiny Gaza Strip, home to 1.8 million Palestinians has been described as an open-air prison. It is now turning into a poison pit as well. Both Palestinian and UN officials have expressed grave concern over the worsening clean water shortage in the Gaza Strip, saying 90% of water in the tiny enclave is unfit to drink. This puts the entire population, especially children, at serious risk.
Blockaded on two sides by the Zionist military machine, and on the third by the military regime in Egypt, coupled with an outlet to the sea that is completely polluted, the situation in Gaza has reached critical proportions.
Aquifers are Gaza’s primary water source and provide for 98% of public consumption. Locals and development specialists say the situation is getting beyond dire across the besieged Palestinian enclave. Residents say the water from the tap is barely usable, while those who can afford it, of which there are not many, buy bottled water.
The Gaza Strip, which has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007, has long suffered severe water problems. Sewage, chemicals, and seawater have contaminated its aquifer and the territory’s three desalination plants are unable to meet demand. They are often unable to operate at full capacity because of lack of spare parts that the Zionist regime refuses to allow to be imported. Together with shortage of food — 90 % of Gaza’s population is food deficient according to the UN — as well as badly needed medicines, the water crisis has made life intolerable for the beleaguered people.
Adnan Ghosheh, a senior water and sanitation specialist with the World Bank, stated in November that only 10% of Palestinians in the blockaded enclave have access to drinking water. He also reiterated earlier UN warnings that the Gaza Strip could be “uninhabitable” in less than five years on current trends. Perhaps, that is the Zionists’ plan: to punish the people of Gaza for standing up defiantly against the illegal invaders of Palestine. While the Zionists cannot occupy the tiny enclave because of the spirit of resistance of the people, they are attempting to starve it into submission. Now they have added another dimension to their policy of collective punishment: make Gaza uninhabitable because of lack of clean drinking water.
The people in that tiny bastion of resistance, one of the last remaining on earth, are being left with a stark choice: leave or die of thirst in the tiny enclave. Is there no limit to the barbarism of the Zionists?