Israel denies Gaza access to clean water

Israel denies Gaza
access to clean water

Press TV
January 30, 2009

Israel has refused to allow a French-made water purification system into
Gaza amid a drinking water crisis in the Palestinian strip.

The French Foreign Ministry said Friday that Tel Aviv had blocked the entry
of a much-needed water purification station into Gaza and had forced its
repatriation.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Eric Chevallier said the move has
sparked an outcry in the Elysée, prompting it to summon the Israeli
ambassador to Paris to explain why the system was denied access.

“There were a very great number of steps taken at all levels to try to get
the water purification station into Gaza,” he said, adding that Israel’s
explanation was not satisfactory.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
recently warned that Israel’s 23-day onslaught on Gaza has pushed
its sewage system on the brink of collapse and thus increased risks of
groundwater contamination in the Palestinian territory.

“The most dangerous thing is the contamination of drinking water with
sewage. We need an international organization like the World Health
Organization
to investigate the matter,” said Monther Shoblak, head of the
Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU).

According to the UN, Israel’s three week-long saturation bombing of the
Palestinian territory has seriously damaged pipes and has left drinking
water
in very short supply.

Warning of the serious public health risks, the World Bank has urged the
Israeli government to allow enough fuel into Gaza to operate some 170
water and sewage pumps there.

The bank called on Israel to allow maintenance crews to shore up a sewage
lake in northern Gaza before it overflows at the expense of the 1.5 million
Palestinians living in the area.

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