Gaza Blockade

well

Beit Hanoun well destroyed in Operation Cast Lead

Israel’s violations of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

with regard to the human rights to water and sanitation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

September 2011

 

75. (...) [T]hese intentional acts and omissions by Israel to deny availability of and access to water and sanitation have caused severe pain and suffering on the civilian population of the Gaza Strip who have not only struggled to manage their personal and domestic needs due to lack of access of sufficient supplies of safe water but have had to live with both the indignity and potential health risks of sewage flowing in the streets of residential areas. In 2011, Gazans on average had 91 litres of water available per person per day, albeit of dangerous quality. This is compared to Israeli‟s having on average access to 280 litre of high quality water per person per day. The sanitation situation has resulted not only in contamination of the Coastal Aquifer, agricultural land and urban neighbourhoods, but 50 to 80 million litres of raw sewage flows into the Mediterranean Sea each day. On account of this water and sanitation crisis in the Gaza Strip, UNRWA reports that diarrhoea and acute bloody diarrhoea, diseases caused by lack of access to safe water and adequate sanitation, remain the major cause of morbidity among infectious diseases affecting the refugee population of the Gaza Strip.

76. In the aftermath of „Operation Cast Lead‟, the blockade was eventually ostensibly eased in June 2010. However, materials necessary to repair and maintain water and sanitation infrastructure remain limited, with Israel allowing only 16 per cent of requested materials be brought into the Gaza Strip through theses so-called eased entry procedures. With the exception of some large scale projects, negotiated directly by World Bank, German and American Governments, Palestinian Authority and UN agencies as well as NGO sector development agencies report that materials necessary to build infrastructure for alternative sources of water, such as desalination plants, or to protect the existing water in the Coastal Aquifer, such as waste water treatment facilities meeting international standards, are not able to get into the Gaza Strip in a timely manner if at all. The result has been that much needed projects still face delays for years or cancellation, leaving the Gazan population to continue living with lack of available and accessible quality water as well as sanitation facilities.

 

From http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cescr/docs/ngos/EWASH-Al-Haq_Israel_CESCR47.pdf

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