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UN office warns 97 percent of ground water in Gaza is undrinkable, causing risk of disease outbreak and epidemic


Electricity supply in Gaza increased up to 18 hours a day in some areas, following the provision of additional fuel to operate the Gaza Power Plant.

Only 22 per cent of patients injured during the Gaza demonstrations, who were referred for follow-up surgery in the West Bank or Israel, have been granted Israeli exit permits.

97 per cent of ground water extracted in Gaza is unfit for human consumption, generating the risk of a waterborne disease outbreak.

The number of Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians and their property during 2018 grew by 57 and 175 per cent, compared with 2017 and 2016, respectively.

Overview: October 2018

Israeli settlers, accompanied by Israeli soldiers, assault ‘Urif village (Nablus), 6 July 2018. © Photo by ‘Adel al-’Amer/B’Tselem

Israeli settlers, accompanied by Israeli soldiers, assault ‘Urif village (Nablus), 6 July 2018. © Photo by ‘Adel al-’Amer/B’Tselem

During the first week of November, residents of the Gaza Strip experienced some respite from the deteriorating humanitarian situation. First, the electricity supply increased up to 18 hours a day in some areas, from 4-5 hours in previous months, following the provision of additional fuel to operate the Gaza Power Plant. Second, around 27,000 civil servants, hired by Hamas after the 2007 takeover, were paid their August salaries, while 50,000 of the poorest families began receiving an US$ 100 allocation. These developments have been made possible due to funding provided by the Government of Qatar, and following Israel’s authorization of the entry of the fuel and cash into Gaza. In addition, while the ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations along the perimeter fence continue, there has been a significant decline in clashes between demonstrators and Israeli forces and a resulting decrease in casualties.

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More casualties sustained during the ‘Great March of Return’ in Gaza

*This figure includes 171 Palestinians killed during the Great March of Return demonstrations and other activities and 57 killed in other circumstances.

*This figure includes 171 Palestinians killed during the Great March of Return demonstrations and other activities and 57 killed in other circumstances.

While participating in a demonstration near the Gaza fence with Israel on 6 April 2018, a university student in his mid-twenties was shot and injured in his left hip by Israeli forces. He was standing about 30-40 metres from the barbed wire fence inside Gaza territory and burning a tyre with other demonstrators.

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Study warns water sanitation crisis in Gaza may cause disease outbreak and possible epidemic

USAID project of distributing potable water for vulnerable people in the North area 2017. © Photo by OCHA

USAID project of distributing potable water for vulnerable people in the North area 2017. © Photo by OCHA

A recent report prepared by the RAND Corporation warns that if the chronic state of emergency in Gaza’s water and sewage sector continues, an endemic disease outbreak or other public health crisis is imminent, with the risk of it spreading to Israel and Egypt. The projection is based on data collected by Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) partners and authorities over previous years, analysis of the expected impact of recent developments, and lessons learnt from disease outbreaks in Haiti, Yemen and Iraq. The report emphasised that cooperation between the Palestinian Authority, Israel and Egypt is vital if an epidemic is to be pre-empted.

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High level of violence by Israeli settlers; rise in Israeli fatalities

Settler violence and settlement expansion in western Ramallah

Settler violence and settlement expansion in western Ramallah

The high level of Israeli settler violence against Palestinians reported during the first four months of 2018 in an earlier Humanitarian Bulletin, continued through October as the annual olive harvest began. Since the start of 2018, OCHA has documented 217 incidents attributed to Israeli settlers that have resulted in Palestinian casualties (60 incidents) or in damage to Palestinian property (157 incidents). As a monthly average, this is the highest level of incidents recorded since 2014 and represents a 57 and 175 per cent increase compared with 2017 and 2016 respectively (see chart).

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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

OCHA oPt works to ensure a coordinated and effective response to humanitarian needs stemming from the conflict, the occupation and other policies, as well as from natural disasters or extreme weather events.

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15 Responses

  1. just on November 16, 2018, 2:11 pm

    Thanks for this report.

    Things are getting worse (as usual) for the Palestinians. All one needs to do is read all about it in Kate’s compilations. Here’s today’s:

    So many folks still want to see Israel through their rose colored spectacles, but the truth is available for those who choose to see the truth. MW does a great job of telling truths.

    I was not stunned, nor even surprised, to read this today:

    “In First, U.S. Votes Against UN Resolution Condemning Israeli Control of Golan Heights

    151 countries vote in favor of resolution, with Israel and U.S. the only two countries voting ‘no’ ■ U.S. says it rejected resolution because it is ‘extremely biased against Israel’ …”

    The US and other ‘democracies’ are complicit and enabling in the ongoing Nakba and massacres of the Palestinian people… more stolen land, other resources, and involvement in killing wars all over MENA.

    • annie on November 16, 2018, 2:26 pm


      Israeli forces reportedly demanded to photograph each student and teacher upon their arrival to the school

      it’s mindnumbing.

      • JLewisDickerson on November 16, 2018, 5:42 pm

        Is it really such a bad thing to have one’s mind numbed? [There’s something odd about this Pinot Grigio!]

    • m1945 on November 17, 2018, 12:35 am

      I see thousands of Gazans trying to invade Israel.
      I don’t see any Israelis trying to invade Gaza.
      Israel has every right to defend itself against racist invaders.

      • Marnie on November 17, 2018, 8:31 am

        You’re hallucinating.

      • Misterioso on November 17, 2018, 11:38 am


        Your ignorance is appalling and inexcusable.

        Here’s a brief primer on the occupied Gaza Strip:

        The slaughter and suffering of children and adults in the Gaza Strip, the world’s largest outdoor prison, is the result of the mass ethnic cleansing, beginning in late 1947, of their essentially defenseless fathers, mothers and grand parents (who including their ancestors, have lived continuously for about 15,000 years between the River and the Sea) by Zionist Jews of foreign origin by means of well documented force of arms, several massacres, mass rape and intimidation. (See comment by Israeli historian, Benny Morris, quoted below(**).

        “Israel has assaulted Gaza heavily three times since the end of 2008, which caused the deaths of thousands as well as enormous damage to its infrastructure and crippling Gaza’s economy. Severe cuts to electricity have had a devastating impact on medical aid, food and technology. The water situation is dire – since Israel destroyed Gaza’s sewage infrastructure, raw sewage flows into the ocean, polluting their beaches and leaching into and polluting almost all of Gaza’s groundwater, making it undrinkable. Almost everyone in Gaza depends on water delivered by tanker trucks. Since building materials are prohibited from being allowed into Gaza, valuable infrastructure cannot be rebuilt. Being a fisherman in Gaza is now a very dangerous occupation, for the IDF routinely fires on fishing boats, injuring, arresting and killing fishermen, as well as confiscating and even destroying fishing boats. How might any of us react to such an inhumane blockade? Would we risk our lives to protest?” (“Coming to terms with my Jewish upbringing” by Tsiporah Grignon, August, 2018)

        The horrors engulfing the Gaza Strip are entirely the fault of the entity known as “Israel.” (***)

        To wit:
        “Human Rights Watch, 2005: “…Israel will continue to be an Occupying Power [of the Gaza Strip] under international law and bound by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention because it will retain effective control over the territory and over crucial aspects of civilian life. Israel will not be withdrawing and handing power over to a sovereign authority – indeed, the word ‘withdrawal’ does not appear in the [2005 disengagement] document at all… The IDF will retain control over Gaza’s borders, coastline, and airspace, and will reserve the right to enter Gaza at will. According to the Hague Regulations, ‘A territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised’. International jurisprudence has clarified that the mere repositioning of troops is not sufficient to relieve an occupier of its responsibilities if it retains its overall authority and the ability to reassert direct control at will.”

        To quote Dov Weisglass, then PM Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser:
        “‘The significance of the [proposed] disengagement plan [implemented in 2005] is the freezing of the peace process,’ Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser Dov Weisglass has told Ha’aretz. ‘And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda….’ Weisglass, who was one of the initiators of the disengagement plan, was speaking in an interview with Ha’aretz for the Friday Magazine. ‘The disengagement is actually formaldehyde,’ he said. ‘It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.’” (Top PM Aide: Gaza Plan Aims to Freeze the Peace Process, Ha’aretz, October 6, 2004)

        The International Committee of the Red Cross: “The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law. The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, ratified by Israel, bans collective punishment of a civilian population.”

        “In practice, Gaza has become a huge, let me be blunt, concentration camp for right now 1,800,000 people” – Amira Hass, 2015, correspondent for Haaretz, speaking at the Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke University.

        “Israel” has ignored repeated peace overtures from Hamas:
        On 16 June 2009, after meeting with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Ismail Haniya, prime minister of Hamas’s Gaza Strip government, announced that “If there is a real plan to resolve the Palestinian question on the basis of the creation of a Palestinian state within the borders of June 4, 1967 [i.e. 22% of historic Palestine] and with full sovereignty, we are in favour of it.” “Israel” ignored the offer.

        “‘We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees,’ Haniyeh said, referring to the year of Middle East war in which Israel captured East Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories.” (Haaretz, December 1, 2010) No response from “Israel.” (By calling for a “resolution of the issue of refugees,” Haniyeh was in accordance with UNGA Res. 194, the 1947 Partition Plan, which calls for financial compensation as an option for the Palestinian refugees rather than their inalienable “Right of Return.”)

        In its revised Charter, April, 2017, Hamas again agreed to a Palestinian state based on the 4 June 1967 borders. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, “Israel” promptly rejected the Hamas overture instead of using it to open a dialogue.

        “Senior Hamas Official: ‘I Think We Can All Live Here in This Land – Muslims, Christians and Jews.’” (By Nir Gontarz. March 28, 2018, Haaretz.) No response from “Israel.”

        As for Netanyahu and the Likud party, here’s a brief summation of their positions that are contrary to international law and explain why the conflict continues:
        The Likud Party Platform:
        a. “The Jordan river will be the permanent eastern border of the State [sic] of Israel.”
        b. “Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State [sic] of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem”
        c. “The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.”
        d. “…. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State [sic] of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.”

        ** In 2004, when asked by Ha’aretz journalist, Ari Shavit, what new information his just completed revised version of The Birth of the Palestinian Problem 1947-1949 would provide, Israeli historian Benny Morris replied: “It is based on many documents that were not available to me when I wrote the original book, most of them from the Israel Defense Forces Archives. What the new material shows is that there were far more Israeli acts of massacre than I had previously thought. To my surprise, there were also many cases of rape. In the months of April-May 1948, units of the Haganah were given operational orders that stated explicitly that they were to uproot the villagers, expel them and destroy the villages themselves.” (Ha’aretz, January 9, 2004)

        *** The entity known as “Israel” is neither a state nor a country, i.e., it has yet to officially declare its borders and have them agreed to as such by the international community.

      • CHUCKMAN on November 17, 2018, 3:56 pm

        Well, “there is pleasure sure in being mad that none but madmen know.”

  2. Kay24 on November 16, 2018, 5:43 pm

    This is the ultimate goal the zionists were aiming for. To make the territories unlivable, so that these poor people will perish or flee. Damn all those who inflict this suffering on these helpless people, and damn those who enable them. While their precious citizens drink clean water, and swim in their pools, those they occupy are forced to drink contaminated water.
    This is sheer evil.

  3. CHUCKMAN on November 17, 2018, 3:52 pm

    When is the world going to respond to the horror Israel has made of Gaza?

    It is surely one of the ghastliest situations on the planet.

    And all of it is artificially created, just as surely as is the situation of the Rohingya in Burma.

    But our Western governments say and do nothing.

    Our press says nothing.

    I can only bitterly laugh whenever I see that phrase, “Never again.”

    Gaza is a giant concentration camp in all but name.

    There is a long history of prominent Israelis expressing fears about Gaza and saying it would be necessary to make its people really miserable so they would want to leave.

    And that’s just the goal that every Israeli government has worked towards.

    Although none with more ferocity than Netanyahu’s war criminals.

  4. Citizen on November 18, 2018, 5:01 am

    Meanwhile, the word “occupation” is never used on US corporate tv news media. Most Americans remain totally ignorant of the Palestinian situation. All they know is the “clash” has been going on forever, and Israel always just acts in defense of bombardment by missiles in the hands of Palestinian terrorists striving to push poor little democratic Israel into the sea.

  5. Jackdaw on November 18, 2018, 1:47 pm

    That’s right. Global warming and rising sea levels are wrecking havoc on over-populated Gaza.

    Maybe Hamas will turn it’s swords into plowshares, and build desalination plants and wind turbines, and use cement and pipes to rebuild water supply infrastructure instead of using pipes and cement to build rockets and tunnels into Israel.

    • eljay on November 18, 2018, 2:08 pm

      || Jackdaw: … Maybe Hamas will turn it’s swords into plowshares, and build desalination plants and wind turbines, and use cement and pipes to rebuild water supply infrastructure instead of using pipes and cement to build rockets and tunnels into Israel. ||

      Yeah, you gotta wonder why those bitches chained in the basement don’t just turn their shivs into cutlery and knit stuff and make nice pottery instead of constantly trying to harm the rapist.

    • Mooser on November 18, 2018, 2:36 pm

      “That’s right. Global warming and rising sea levels are wrecking havoc on over-populated Gaza.”

      So there we go, we’ve got the answer to the Rabbi’s ‘one question’. Climate change is ‘good for the Jews’ and should be encouraged.

  6. echinococcus on November 18, 2018, 2:28 pm

    Yes, Jackzz. What the *&^% are they to do with plowshares now that you have stolen all their land? Desalination plant my ass, give bak the water and the land you stole and that will be more than enough.

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