By: George Kurzom
Gaza children are forced to drink contaminated water
Exclusive to Environment and Development Horizons:
“Let’s evacuate the entire population of Gaza.” This was one of the strategic slogans of the Israeli occupation plan after the occupation of Gaza Strip in 1967, as well as the occupation of the West Bank and other Arab territories (Sinai, Arish and the Golan Heights). A few months after the end of 1967 war, Levi Eshkol's government discussed a few plans on how to deal with the hundreds of thousands of Arabs who became under its control, particularly in Gaza, the West Bank, and in the Galilee (according to the 1967 protocols of the Israeli Cabinet of Ministers).
With regard to Gaza Strip in particular, Israel designed a project to forcibly deport its people. "Levy Eshkol" considered that the imprisonment of Gazan residents may force them to leave. He called to deprive the Gazans of water so they would have no choice but to leave, especially after the dryness of the wells, agricultural lands, and orchards. Since this time, the Israeli government has also retained another strategic solution to deport the Gazans by launching a new war. “Whatever the solution is, Gaza must be evacuated of its inhabitants," insisted Levi Eshkol.
The Israeli war minister, Moshe Dayan (1967), had another vision for the future of the Gaza Strip with the same goal of Levi Eshkol’s plan. According to Dayan, the population of Gaza Strip in 1967 was about 400,000. Israel allowed only 100,000 of these residents to stay. The rest of the residents, who were considered as refugees by Dayan, were to be uprooted in any way and deported to Sinai or Eastern Jordan.
The Israeli practices against the Gaza Strip nowadays, in terms of perpetrating genocide, wars, siege, starvation, suffocation, cutting off electricity, and dumping people in waste water is neither new nor innovative. Rather, these practices are a continuation of the old colonial plans of Israel to empty Gaza of its population or force them to renounce the resistance of the occupier, and thus apply the infernal Zionist-American schemes (take the Trump project, for example).
This explains the migration of thousands of educated people from different scientific, academic, medical, and engineering disciplines. Especially during last Ramadan month, when the Egyptian regime opened Rafah border throughout the Holy Month. Normally it only opens it few times a year and just for a few hours.
Therefore, water is considered a strategic security issue, which the occupation uses as a weapon to systematically harass Palestinians and to humiliate them, in order to perpetuate their dependence on Israel, not only in their livelihood but also in their water. The weapon of oppression is used to subdue the Palestinians and force them to submit to both the occupation and its projects. In this context, it is worth recalling that during the siege of the Israeli army in Beirut in 1982, Yitzhak Rabin advised his colleague Ariel Sharon, the Zionist Minister of War at that time, to take the initiative in cutting off water and electricity from West Beirut in order to subdue the Palestinian resistance. Thus, water and electricity were cut off for a few weeks during the siege.
The brutal objectives of the Israeli occupation and starvation of people in Gaza are very clear. The occupation is responsible for the deterioration of the disastrous water situation there, as they are the main provider of water and electricity, with absolute control over land borders and marine areas. But the shocking and painful issue, and not less serious than the occupation role in the deterioration of the disastrous water situation in Gaza Strip, is the official Palestinian inability in Ramallah and Gaza to manage the existing infrastructure. The political division and conflict between the authorities of Ramallah and Gaza on power and control in Gaza strip is complicating the humanitarian situation. All of this in addition to the official Egyptian blockade of Gaza Strip, who keep the Rafah border closed for most of the year.
The current electrical crisis and hence water crisis in Gaza Strip, has increased due to the reduction in the amount of electricity supplied by Israel to Gaza Strip, following the Palestinian Authority's request with the aim of putting pressure on Hamas authority and "punishing" it. This has been done through the reduction of financial payments paid by the Palestinian authority to Israel in return for providing electricity, in addition to cutting the salaries of employees and the health transfer payments; thus, leaving millions of Gazans in poverty, hunger, thirst and illness.
Translated by: Ghadeer Kamal Zaineh