Wednesday, June 26, 2013

  • Wednesday, June 26, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
Nidal al-Mughrabi at Reuters has a good sized article about Gaza's water woes.

A tiny wedge of land jammed between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean sea, the Gaza Strip is heading inexorably into a water crisis that the United Nations says could make the Palestinian enclave unliveable in just a few years.

With 90-95 percent of the territory's only aquifer contaminated by sewage, chemicals and seawater, neighborhood desalination facilities and their public taps are a lifesaver for some of Gaza's 1.6 million residents.

But these small-scale projects provide water for only about 20 percent of the population, forcing many more residents in the impoverished Gaza Strip to buy bottled water at a premium.

"There is a crisis. There is a serious deficit in the water resources in Gaza and there is a serious deterioration in the water quality," said Rebhi El Sheikh, deputy chairman of the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA).
There's nothing wrong with this topic, and this is accurate. But when the question comes up as to what is causing the problems, we read (paragraph 11):

Further complicating the issue is Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, which activists say has prevented the import of materials needed for repairs on water and waste facilities. Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent arms from reaching Hamas, which is opposed to the existence of the Jewish state.
Notice how the second sentence seems to support the first, as if Israel's blockade is aimed at water infrastructure.

Has Israel ever stopped any water projects in Gaza?

Not that I am aware of.

COGAT's list of projects from 2010-2012 lists a Rafah wastewater treatment plant, pumps for a sewage station, re-activation and upgrading of Deir al Balah desalination plant, improving capacity of CMWU to monitor quality water supply, building the Tel Sutlan sewage pumping sttaion, sewage projects in Deir Balah, replacement of Beit Lahia water network, a solid waste management system for all of Gaza, complete wastewater networks installed in the Khan Yunis area, installing pipelines in Khan Yunis, reservoir construction - dozens of such projects approved by Israel and implemented by NGOs like UNDP, USAID, UNRWA, the ICRC and others.

Israel used to ship metal pipes directly into Gaza - which were promptly turned into rockets and shot back into Israel. Since then, Israel only sends in materials like that through recognized agencies that can oversee their proper use. But that doesn't mean that Israel is stopping life-saving water infrastructure from reaching Gaza, and Reuters indirect, anonymous quote claiming they are is simply not journalism.

So who are these "activists" that say that Israel has been preventing water infrastructure materials into Gaza, and what was not allowed? Reuters won't tell us, because it is simply repeating anti-Israel rumors with the assumption that they must be true.

Much later on in the article, in paragraph 28, after most readers have moved on to the next item, we find out that the "activists" are full of it:
Israel is trying to drum up aid for the territory, the senior security official said, alarmed at the prospect of a looming water catastrophe and possible humanitarian crisis on its doorstep in a few years.

"We have talked to everyone we know in the international community because 1.4 million people will be without water in a few years," he said, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

He said Israel, a leader in the desalination industry, was helping to train a handful of Gazans in the latest water technology, which the Palestinian Water Authority confirmed.
You mean, instead of Israel blocking projects to address Gaza's water woes, it is actually in the forefront of trying to fix it?

If that's the case, then why did Mughrabi quote the unnamed Israel-haters at all, let alone so much earlier?

This is a perfect example of how anti-Israel propaganda gets inserted by reporters with an agenda.  They have the conventional wisdom of Israel as the oppressor, and it is assumed to be true without any fact-checking.

But when an Israeli says the opposite, note that Reuters then runs to the Palestinian Arabs to confirm it!

(h/t Dan)

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