Israel’s Ynet news is this afternoon publishing a commentary signed by Maher Najer, deputy director of Gaza’s water company. It is interesting that it was published — and that it was published here. The Gazan official is clearly trying, though he seems both exhausted and exasperated, to reach out to Israeli public opinion.
Here are large excerpts from his article:
“The Israeli government decided, according to reports, to use the supply of water and fuel and the transfer of goods as a legitimate tool for sanctions against Gaza’s civilian population, and in the same breath declared that it would ‘refrain from creating a humanitarian crisis’. However, limiting the supply of electricity and fuel would hurt first and foremost medical devices, refrigerated food, and other essential elements.
“The Israeli government’s decision to cut the supply of electricity and fuel would also hurt the water supply, because Gaza’s pumping stations, just like sanitation systems, are operated by electricity. However, there would be nothing new about this; Israel is already undermining Gaza’s water infrastructure, and the Strip is already seeing the emergence of a severe water crisis, whose implications could bring about a humanitarian and environmental disaster in Gaza and outside of it as a result of the pollution of sea water and beaches in Israel as well and the possible spread of disease.
“In recent months, Israel is not allowing the transfer of spare parts and equipments for Gaza’s water infrastructure. The stocks of spare parts are running out, and some pumps no longer have any spare parts at all. The absence of major infrastructure and equipment components would lead to the collapse of the water and sanitation systems, and such collapse would certainly cause floods and the leakage of sewage into the sea and drinking water.
“Israeli officials claim that when it comes to humanitarian issues, Gaza’s needs are addressed. The truth is far from it. Safe access to clean water is a basic humanitarian right, which is apparently absent in the minds of Israeli decision-makers. Polluted water and a lack of hygiene constitute the 10th leading cause of the death in the world.
“Most of the 1.5 million of men, women, and children who reside in the ‘hostile territory’ of Gaza do not plot any malicious acts against Israel and are not a party to the firing of Qassam rockets. Most of us aspire for normalcy and peaceful life with our neighbors, who would do well to remind their government that undermining the water supply can be just the same as playing with fire”.
The Gazan official’s commentary for Ynet news is posted here.