Due to the war I have been receiving many questions. Here is one that has been asked several times concerning the water and electricity situation in Gaza.
When Gaza fell into Israeli hands during the War of 1967 after the Egyptians left the area, what was left was a collapsed infrastructure, a completely broken water pipe system, one old and often dysfunctional electrical power plant, an antiquated, barely functioning electrical grid and a dilapidated sewer system.
Due to ongoing bitter rivalry between political groups in Gaza, the ability to elect an effective central authority as a governing body, was impossible. In fact, no effective public utility to speak of existed in Gaza since the beginning of the 20th century. Unfortunately, other than humanitarian help, no serious international initiative to improve the infrastructure has been offered to remedy the situation.
This was the situation 65 years ago. Nothing much has changed since except that the population is now more than four times as much, from 400,000 Arabs living in Gaza in the late 60’s to 1.8 million presently cramming into the same small area.
After the 1967 war, the State of Israel realized it needed to supply Gaza with water and electricity while trying to rebuild the infrastructure using its own limited resources of water and electricity. To make things even worse, the Israelis realized that at least half of the water supplied to Gaza could not be handled by the antiquated water pipe system. A few desalination plants were desperately needed as well as a few new power plants to replace the one small dysfunctional electrical power plant along with its dilapidated electrical grid.
Over the years, plans to improve the situation in Gaza were drawn by Israeli engineers with international support. These plans were impossible to implement since terror organizations were active in Gaza against Israel. Any Israeli initiative to ease Gaza’s situation was flatly rejected.
Plans to help the situation were also drawn specifically by the Israeli water and electrical authorities. These plans were scratched as well due to constant terror activities from Gaza.
The UN organization, UNICEF however, did manage to build a small water desalination plant in Gaza in order to ease the water shortage. However the plant is too small. It is based on old technology and cannot solve the dire water situation in Gaza.
One of the well known plans to help the situation was put forward by former Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett and former foreign minister Yair Lapid. It evidently had great European support. It was never implemented due to the refusal of Hamas to even consider it.
There were also Israeli proposals to build a few modern desalination plants as well as patching the water pipe system using Israeli vast know- how and experience in the field. Plans to build a few electrical power plants with foreign donations were also considered.
In 2008 Hamas authorities agreed to allow the building of a desalination plant and electrical power plants to alleviate the severe water and electrical shortage. Building materials earmarked for these projects were sent along with engineering plans for the projects to be built with the help of Israeli engineers and foreign money.
However, Hamas had plans of its own. All the building material was used to build one of the most elaborate and sophisticated underground large tunnels. This became what is now known as Gaza’s underground city. The goal was to provide shelter to the dozens of thousands Hamas terrorists as well as a way to kidnap Israelis.
Both goals were achieved. Many terror attacks in the area including kidnapping Israeli citizens (and getting back hundreds of terrorist prisoners in Israeli jail in a prisoner exchange) were conducted using these tunnels.
When Israel realized that all building materials were used to build the underground structure instead of helping the population, it was decided to immediately stop the transfer of all construction material to Gaza.
However, according to IDF reports, it has been discovered that Hamas has managed to smuggle huge amounts of construction material through the Egyptian border and through its extensive tunnel system. Hamas even expanded the underground elaborate tunnels system to more than 200 miles. For years Hamas has been successfully smuggling anything they needed for their terror activities through land and sea.
It also became apparent that a lot of materials have been smuggled through Israel by hiding them in double strength food bags like rice bags. Israel, having no other choice, started monitoring everything that is shipped to Gaza on a daily basis aboard dozens of large trucks including food and other goods.
Unlike what Arab propaganda wants everyone to believe, there are absolutely no restrictions on food, medicine, and all other basic needs. Everything is simply being checked for any material that could be used, directly or indirectly, for terror, including weapons and ammunition.
This is the hard lesson learned by Israel that when it comes to Gaza that less than total vigilance leads to terror disasters. Israel is still obligated to supply water and electricity as much as it can to Gaza. This is not a “control” issue but rather the kind of moral and legal obligation issued by the international community and the UN despite the hatred and the will to obliterate the state of Israel.
It is sad that on one hand the world accuses Israel of “controlling” Gaza by controlling the water and electrical flow and by restricting material going to Gaza and on the other hand demands that Israel provides Gaza with water and electric power, food and other materials. It is sad that the world has ignored all the attempts by Israel to help rebuild Gaza infrastructure and instead has faced extreme hostility.
It is a strange anomaly that Gazans want to destroy Israel by completely killing all men (women and girls should be taken for obvious purposes) despite the fact that Israel provides for the Gazans, as much as it can, water and electricity and despite Israel's attempts over the years to help with plans which cannot be implemented.
No other country in the world ever came out with a serious attempt to help the water and electrical infrastructure situation, not even the UN, with all its vast resources.
Any accusation from any international body over the years of Israel’s discriminatory restrictions in regards to helping Gaza is a propaganda fallacy.
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