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Water struggles continue in Gaza under the blockade

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Amna standing with her two-year old daughter in the yard of her house.

Amna Ahmed Al-Mallahi standing with her two-year old daughter in the yard of her house.

Life in Gaza in becoming more difficult than ever with the blockade and unavailability of essential services such as water. Water in Gaza is heavily contaminated with salt and sewage which are difficult to remove. The majority of the population in the strip depends on desalinated water purchased from private vendors at high cost ($13 for one cubic meter). Families with poor conditions can’t afford desalinated water; therefore depend on contaminated municipal water or water from private agricultural wells. This impacts people’s health, particularly children and puts their safety at risk. Water contamination causes serious diseases such as cancer, liver problems, renal failure, high blood pressure, diarrhea, and hepatitis.

As a Gazan blockaded since 2007 and suffering, among other things, from the water salinity and shortages, I decided to learn more about the daily life of the poor in the marginalized areas of the Gaza strip who are not able to buy potable water, listen to their problems, and try to be their voice through brining attention to their suffering.

I visited Al-Malalha village, which is located in the southern part of Gaza city. I heard a lot about Al-Malaha but never imagined that life there is almost below zero. I was shocked with what I have seen; the villagers are suffering from poverty, unhealthy life and unemployment. They are thoroughly disfranchised; they even do not have the essential basics of life including water, food and health care centers. Municipal water is not available most of the time, and when it comes, it is dirty and mixed with sewage.

Amna Ahmed Al-Mallahi, 39 , a mother of 5 daughters and 3 sons, and a wife of unemployed man, has been living in Al-Malalha village for 25 years. Life burdens are drastically affecting her family members. They have no money to buy food. Amna doesn’t receive the municipal water at all, although her house is connected to the municipal network . ‘We get water from our neighbor’s well which is so saline”, Amna said. ‘We sometime borrow money to buy this polluted water’ she added.

“The unavailability of water hinders my ability to undertake the household chores  and maintain hygiene”, Amna Said. Amna’s children suffer from waterborne diseases due to the unclean environment they live in and lack of water. Amna rarely cleans her house, and her children bath once every two or three weeks. One of Amna’s sons said, “my school’s mates avoid talking to me because of my bad smell; their treatment bothered me, that’s why Im thinking about leaving school”.

Recently, a charity organization has provided Amna with desalinated water so people can drink and cook with, but Amna still need more than that to have a dignified life for herself and her family.

Samah Habeeb
About Samah Habeeb

Samah Habeeb is a Palestinian student advocating for Palestinians rights to water and sanitation in the occupied Palestinian Territory.

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22 Responses

  1. Eva Smagacz
    Eva Smagacz
    February 12, 2014, 2:14 pm

    Well, they are still breeding, don’t they? Obviously, there is nothing wrong with what Israel is doing as their numbers keep going up. You are an Anti-Semite if you say so. Its Pals own fault. They can always leave by the Rafah crossing. Nobody is stopping them. If they didn’t breed like vermin there would be more water to go round. They have all those excess males, that threaten new Holocaust. Can you see how dirty they are? Don’t blame Israelis for their primitivity. Israel is a light to the nations and invented Intel. It’s Hamas’s fault. If Hamas were to commit communal Harakiri, the Gaza would turn overnight into second Singapore. And what monster of a mother gives a child contaminated water? Especially if she knows that this water causes cancer, liver problems, renal failure, high blood pressure, diarrhea, and hepatitis. Surely its better not to give your child water than give contaminated water. EVERYBODY KNOWS that Jerusalem is Israel’s eternal capital and that Pals do not love children the way Israelis do. And don’t even start me on unemployment. Instead of breeding they should all start looking for a job. There is always job for those who REALLY want it. (/outrage off)

    • DICKERSON3870
      February 12, 2014, 8:02 pm

      You have truly captured/parroted the essence of the pro-Israel/hasbara narrative! Very nicely done. I enjoyed it immensely.

      P.S. Polly want a cracker?

    • Sumud
      February 12, 2014, 9:49 pm

      They’re all so predictable aren’t they?

      • DICKERSON3870
        February 12, 2014, 11:56 pm

        Yes, they are incredibly predictable, and Eva Smagacz’s clever parody is quite close to reality. In point of fact, they are so predictable that I barely pay any attention to what they have to say anymore.
        Perhaps the only people who are more predictable than the hasbara brigade are the hardcore Christian fundamentalists.

      • Sumud
        February 13, 2014, 12:59 am

        In point of fact, they are so predictable that I barely pay any attention to what they have to say anymore.

        I don’t either Dickerson.

        The hasbarats are unwittingly a great asset for Palestinians. Their continuous lying becomes obvious to the uninitiated fairly quickly.

      • UpSIDEdown
        February 13, 2014, 6:47 pm

        Hi Dickerson
        That is where I am at these days I know what they have to say so I avoid reading their comments they make so angry. However reading the person above its unbelievable that people actually think like her and what’s worse she’s convinced How can any Mother say that because of ones race they don’t love their children like normal moms admit that kind of dumb I rarely see that much. But the attitude all the time.

      • RoHa
        February 13, 2014, 9:37 pm

        “However reading the person above …”

        If you mean Eva Smagacz, I can assure you she doesn’t think like that. She is writing a parody of the sort of thing an Israeli propagandist would write, in order to show how cold-hearted she thinks the Israelis are.

        Check here for swarthy and unshaven.

      • DICKERSON3870
        February 14, 2014, 3:03 pm

        ALLOW ME TO REITERATE: Those of us who are familiar with Eva Smagacz’s posts easily realize that her comment above is strictly a very clever (and amusing in a very sad way) PARODY. She was mocking Israel’s hard-core, right-wing defenders/apologists (hasbarists). She certainly was not being one! ! !

    • RoHa
      February 12, 2014, 9:57 pm

      Pssst! You forgot to mention how swarthy and unshaven they are.

    • UpSIDEdown
      February 13, 2014, 6:17 pm

      EVA I imagine this what you will answer to God when he asks what did you do for the suffering .. Beliefve me I don’t think God will like this answer.

      • Eva Smagacz
        Eva Smagacz
        February 13, 2014, 9:52 pm


        You are welcome – nice to have you join discussions.

        I was so outraged by the article, that I wrote a parody/satire of Zionist hasbara.
        And you are right, people who use these arguments for real are racists and sadists.

        God will have me squirm about many of my sins, but ignoring the suffering is not one of them.

      • W.Jones
        February 13, 2014, 10:47 pm

        Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55

        Blessed are the merciful – For they shall obtain mercy.

        It’s like the story of the Good Samaritan. People were not expecting that the Samaritan would be the person who takes care of the victim, even though they were opposite backgrounds.

    • W.Jones
      February 13, 2014, 10:53 pm

      You are pretty, Eva.
      I like that you care about suffering people.

  2. gingershot
    February 12, 2014, 3:24 pm

    Alert to Mondoweiss/Samah – can this be reviewed it not already?

    Front page news at Haaretz – Knesset walkout on European Parliament President Martin Schulz for saying Israelis use 70 l per Israeli capita as compared to 17 per Palestinian capita

    Netanyahu is condemning Schultz – PLEASE if Schultz’s numbers are true then this is a MAJOR PR coup against Apartheid

    What are the numbers? – can these be sent to Schultz IMMEDIATELY

    Cached page at Haaretz for those of you without subscriptions below:
    “Give him all due respect, but the president of the [European] Parliament stands here and says a blatant lie as though Israelis have the right to use 70 cubic liters of water and the Palestinians 17 cubic liters,” she said. “That is a blatant lie. This speech will be spread all around the world as though this is true. When he says these things, and in German yet, it’s no wonder that Knesset members and ministers are objecting to these comments.”–

    • annie
      February 12, 2014, 3:50 pm

      hey gingershot, thank you! i was busy working on the post about schulz knesset speech this morning when you wrote this so i didn’t see it. but i knew Samah’s article was going to be published before i started and was just now able to add in the link right back here, because i hope everyone who reads it opens Samah’s post as well.

      [edit]..and yes i think they are true, it’s not a secret.

      water supply and sanitation in the Palestinian territories are characterized by severe water shortage, which is exacerbated by the effects of Israeli occupation. According to the WaSH Monitoring Programme, Israelis use 87% of the water available from the mountain aquifer in the West Bank, and 82% of the water from the coastal aquifer under Gaza

      • gingershot
        February 12, 2014, 4:43 pm

        you were already on in and beating me by a mile while I was still trying to ‘alert you’ – per usual, ha!

        thanks annie

      • UpSIDEdown
        February 13, 2014, 6:35 pm

        Those numbers are correct they were giving to him after speaking to a Palestinian Mother who said those exact numbers and lets not forget the Dutch taking back a water deal because of this same reason, and he saw with his own eyes. People are not stupid I have a friend from Red cross and they told me I wouldn’t be able to ever imagine just how the Israelis punish those in Gaza they also pointed out that every time something happens over this IMF goes in the dead of night and separates families taking children to jail and if anyone believe that those in Gaza are not starving then think again, what is worse there all becoming sick what with shit in their drinking water thanks to IMF spraying sewage into the homes of pals. Really I can hardly stand siting by I feel so dam helpless and never have I been a racist person our parents brought up their kids with love and I cant remember a single time where I ever felt ANY ONE WAS BETTER THEN THE NEXT PERSON REGARDLESS OF race religion OR color. I’ve noticed this past week when I tweet a article on this issue and I basically only tweet about Israel and Pals usually I’d be lucky with 1-2 retweets lately I see 10 20 some people are sick to death of our watching as Country after Country are losing their uniqueness to the rules set out by them while were trying to stop the Slaughter and make sure we are able to see the pals free.

      • UpSIDEdown
        February 13, 2014, 6:36 pm

        Opps IDF not IMF

  3. dbroncos
    February 12, 2014, 3:34 pm

    The UN predicts that Gaza’s aqua fir, already heavily salivated, will be unusable by 2016. The crisis is another tragic consequence of Zionism and the fascist pretentions of the Jewish State.

  4. ritzl
    February 12, 2014, 7:00 pm

    Don’t forget the nitrates in the Gaza/Coastal aquifer water supply. They’re the source of “blue baby” birth defects (w/ lifelong effects).

    It’s a very sick mentality/society that inflicts these conditions on millions of people in order to bring about a political result. VERY sick.

  5. Sumud
    February 12, 2014, 9:47 pm

    Where are the usual hasbara clowns to tell us Israel isn’t occupying Gaza?

    • UpSIDEdown
      February 13, 2014, 6:39 pm

      Sumud I think with all the articles out on these issues they are having a harder then usual time catching

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