Posted by: r.m. | January 14, 2009

another environmental health risk …

The Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) is concerned that waste water lagoons in the northern Gaza Strip could collapse …. “With Israel’s latest bombardment, there is a real risk that earth retention walls of a number of wastewater lagoons will break, releasing an estimated three million cubic meters of wastewater into the surrounding communities,” said Shaddad Attili, head of the PWA, in a statement on 12 January. …The Coastal Municipalities Water Utilities (CMWU), Gaza’s main water agency, said it had received unconfirmed reports that 200,000 cubic meters of wastewater had leaked from the Gaza City treatment plant after an embankment sustained damage during the fighting. “The Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip is causing extensive damage to homes and to public infrastructure and is jeopardizing water, sanitation and medical services,” said the UN humanitarian coordinator’s statement on 12 January.

…The PWA has asked Israel to let in equipment, and some will be allowed in, but the Israeli authorities have rejected requests for steel and cast iron pipes which it says could be turned into homemade rockets by militants. ”

Ah, that statement – that justification – by the Israelis is one they may have learned from their financial and military supplier and diplomatic supporter: the US. The US – under the Clinton administration (an administration that was arguably more Republican than the Republicans) – banned any “dual use item” from entering Iraq during the sanctions (1990-2003). Any item that could also be used for the production of some “undesirable” military object was banned although that item was vitally needed for necessary civil and health infrastructure. Consequently, water purification systems, sewage pipes, medicines, hospital equipment, fertilizers, electricity and communications infrastructure, oil field equipment, and much else – were blocked. (For information on the genocidal impact of the sanctions on Iraq, here is one source)

And when we talk about humanitarian support for Gaza, let’s look at other examples – such as Iraq, another area that was bombed, sieged, bombed, sieged…

“The humanitarian situation in Iraq will continue to be a dire one in the absence of a sustained revival of the Iraqi economy, which in turn cannot be achieved solely through remedial humanitarian efforts.” — UN Report on the Current Humanitarian Situation in Iraq, submitted to the Security Council, March 1999- from



  1. i dont know why we should wait for israel to give us the right to do our rights!? i think we’ve got to act to this crisis because we can’t act as if nothing is happening or going to happen! we should act before its too late!we should make a move eve if this means risking our lives because its better than risking millions of lives!

  2. I always think about the answer for the question: what does Israel care for other (not more) than Israel? environment? no! People? no! (they are ready to risk everything for Israel)..The hall different countries around the world? sure not!..than the answer is why to wait let us hit her in what she cares the most about…

  3. In addition to bombs and the death that resulted…the whole environment in which palestinians live is threatened, thus palestinaians are themselves threatened…
    If waste water are going to break, this means that water will be contaminated which implicates that a number of disease will affect the population and cause them illness and death! this leads to…FURTHER DEATH!
    One more point, do we really expect from a country causing massacre to another to help it? ah…definetly not…

  4. the report is missing the part about near future effects of the destruction of infrastructure. After the bombing, everything must be re-built, and building infrastructure is really started at zero.
    But even before that, History and science tell us that after such destruction, disease surge: Cholera, Salmonella, Shigella… All these being the result of broken pipes and cross-contamination of water. It is a shame that they’re not allowing pipes and equipment to enter because they might face epidemics.

  5. This might sound a little bit cynical, but I’m not really worried about the people in Gaza; I’ll explain myself.
    The indian people living on the border of the Ganges river are so religious that they believe the river is the reincarnation of the godess Ganga, therefore they don’t hesitate drinking from it’s highly poluted water. When I say “poluted”, I mean with concentrations in certain toxins over 50 times higher than critical values… all that said, indians living there have been drinking from the toxic waters for decades, and they’re still healthy like horses…. so I guess people and their immune systems get used to what they’ve got.

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