Gaza: water crisis grows as Israel targets essential infrastructure
Publisher: Ecologist, United Kingdom
Date Written: 31/07/2014
Year Published: 2014
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX16568
Israel's war on Gaza has seen the systematic and widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure essential for human survival. This represents an apparently deliberate 'cutting off of life support' to those that survive the bombardment now under way.
Once water is gathered, the quest does not end; rather, the new challenge is retaining the drinkable water. According to Oxfam, between 2011 and 2012, 62 European-funded water structures were demolished in Area C, including in the Jordan Valley.
The sabotage emanates from two sources: demolition by the Israeli army, or by individuals from the nearby settlements. In the latter case, contamination has been caused by putting old car parts or animal carcasses in the cisterns.
In the former, bulldozers are used to destroy structures deemed illegal; in other instances, individual acts of sabotage can be driven by ennui. According to a 2009 report by Amnesty International, soldiers shot water tanks to pass the time, since
"water tanks are good for target practice; they are everywhere and are the right size to aim at and calibrate your weapon, to relieve your frustration or to break the monotony of a stint of guard duty."
Such sabotage strikes the owner hard, as each cistern costs the equivalent of a year and a half's wages, quite apart from the deprivation the destruction of a water source inevitably entails.