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 http://www.iraqaction.org/