On water for Gaza, put politics aside

There is a serious humanitarian crisis in Gaza and water is at its center. Holding water issues hostage to the conflict will have dire consequences for Palestinians in Gaza, Israelis and Egyptians. Directly due to the hostilities, an estimated 1.2 million Palestinians in Gaza have no running water. There exists insufficient electricity in Gaza to treat or pump out sewage. This will no doubt result in even higher than present levels of drinking water contamination that risk the outbreak of pandemic disease, such as cholera and typhoid. The health risk is compounded by the present inability to even chlorinate drinking water.

This situation requires an urgent response if the outbreak of pandemic disease is to be avoided. Pandemics risk Palestinian, Israeli and Egyptian populations. But here lies the dilemma. Tackling the urgent water, environment, economic and energy problems all have to go through a central government and in Gaza that means Hamas. How can Israel and the international community therefore deal with the crisis?

The fact is that Israel presently sells an average of 4.7 million cubic meters (MCM) of potable water to Gaza, delivered through two grid connections: 2.8 MCM via the Bani Suhaila connection east of Khan-Younis, and 1.9 MCM via the Ben Said connection east of Deir el-Balah. Infrastructure constraints permitting, Israel could double this water supply for the immediate period.

For the complete article, please see Times of Israel.