“972+” magazine said that since the beginning of the war, Israel has created an unparalleled health crisis by depriving the Palestinians in… Gaza Of potable water, it is about to cause irreparable environmental damage by using water as a weapon as part of its current attack on the Gaza Strip.
The magazine mentioned – in a report written by Nancy Murray and Amhal Bishara – a specific warning United nations Special Pedro Araujo Agudo said that Israel “must stop using water as a weapon of war”, and noted that the death toll resulting from water shortages could exceed the toll from the Israeli bombing itself.
The magazine confirmed that depriving Gaza of water – which it described as a weapon of mass destruction – was a basic tactic in the war from the beginning, as Israel closed the pipelines feeding the Strip on October 7, 2023, and Defense Minister Yoav Galant announced that Israel “imposed a complete blockade on Gaza: No electricity, no food, no water, no fuel. Everything is closed. We are fighting human animals, and we act accordingly.”
“Using water as a weapon” was mentioned in South Africa’s accusation against Israel international justice Courtas mentioned by other researchers and human rights figures, and referred to by Craig Mokheiber, former director of the New York office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in his resignation letter.
South Africa's petition noted that what happened in Gaza was an intensification of long-standing policies of violence against the Palestinian people, as water deprivation and the destruction of water and sanitation infrastructure were part of Israeli efforts in both the Gaza Strip andWest Bank“to make the process of daily living and living in dignity more difficult for the civilian population,” a UN fact-finding mission stated in 2009.
A health and environmental disaster
For decades – the magazine says – Israel has used water seizures to strip Palestinians of their lands and ways of life, hindering agriculture in the West Bank.
But Israel's use of water as a weapon as part of its current attack on the Gaza Strip comes on a completely different scale, with the possibility of causing an unparalleled public health crisis and irreversible environmental damage.
The magazine pointed out that Gaza's almost complete dependence on Israel for obtaining water and energy has made it vulnerable to using basic resources as a weapon against it. It buys about 30% of its water supplies from Israel, and the purification of the rest depends on electricity and fuel, the entry of which Israel also controls.
Since the beginning of the war, the siege and severe Israeli bombing have caused a significant shortage of water supplies, I mentioned Global Health Organization Cutting off electricity means there is not enough energy to operate water wells, desalination and water purification plants, and sanitation services, she reported UNICEFwhich opened a desalination plant in 2017, says that people are forced to drink highly salty water from the sea.
At the end of last October, an internal US State Department report expressed concern that 52,000 pregnant women and more than 30,000 children under the age of 6 months were forced to drink a potentially fatal mixture of water contaminated with sewage and salt from the sea.
An internal US State Department report expressed concern that 52,000 pregnant women and more than 30,000 children under the age of 6 months were forced to drink a potentially fatal mixture of water contaminated with sewage and salt from the sea.
The World Health Organization reported that more than a million displaced Palestinians living in the southern city of Rafah have an average of one toilet for every 486 people, while across Gaza one toilet serves an average of 4,500 people, thus sewage flows into the streets and contaminates the tents set up on… Hurry to hundreds of thousands of people across southern and central Gaza.
There is another worrying and perhaps long-term tactic – as the magazine says – that Israel has used in recent weeks, which is pumping sea water into the Gaza tunnels, with the ostensible goal being to destroy the tunnels and expel Islamic Resistance Movement activists (agitation).
But the Wall Street Journal reported that the measure could “also threaten Gaza’s water supply,” and indeed the South African memo expressed “grave concern” about this specific use of water as an offensive weapon.
The South African memorandum noted that the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to water compared this Israeli plan to the legendary Roman “salting” of the fields of Carthage that was intended to prevent crop growth and render the area uninhabitable, meaning that “these conditions, deliberately imposed by Israel, are intended to To destroy the Palestinian group in Gaza.
Water is a human right
The writers called on activists and human rights organizations to unequivocally oppose Israel's use of water as a weapon, and said, “As activists in the US-based Coalition for Water Justice in Palestine, we have seen how Israel's long-standing discriminatory water policies are used to control Palestinians.” expelled from their lands, and we have also seen how water activism can mobilize people on many continents to fight for justice.
As the International Court of Justice considers accusations of genocide against Israel, we call on water researchers and activists to consider signing this open letter, which outlines Israel’s discriminatory water policies over the past decades and calls for an end. To use water as a weapon in the Gaza Strip.