Siege on Gaza

Since 2006 Israel and the international community have been imposing a siege on the Gaza Strip, which was intensified in 2007.  Israel’s siege on Gaza prevents the entry of spare parts, materials and energy needed for the day-to-day functioning of the water and wastewater networks, and furthermore obstructs much needed development of these systems.  Today Israel is preventing fisherman from fishing beyond 3 nautical miles, even though according to the 1994 Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Palestinians are allowed a 20 nautical mile fishing limit.

The plight of the besieged Gazan people is receiving increased international media attention following the Gaza War of 2008-9, also known as “Operation Cast Lead”.  It was the finding of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict that water and sanitation resources and infrastructure were intentionally targeted by Israel during the 23-day offensive, which killed more than 1400 Gazans.[i]  Damage to water and sanitation infrastructure cost an estimated US $6 million.[ii]  The siege continues to interfere with rebuilding.

The Free Gaza Movement is a coalition of human rights activists and Palestinian solidarity groups who are challenging the siege of Gaza by sailing humanitarian aid ships to Gaza, also known as the Freedom Flotilla. The Freedom Flotilla had two successful missions breaking the Israeli siege in 2008 and bringing symbolic humanitarian shipments to Gazan civilians before Israel’s navy began to intervene, illegally attacking and hijacking the boats in international waters.  In May 2010, Israeli commandos boarded the ships at night killing nine Turkish citizens, including one dual Turkish-American citizen.  The Freedom Flotilla continues to be a powerful symbol of civil disobedience and direct action citizens can take to highlight the inaction of governments and to put pressure on governments to do the right thing and open Gaza’s seaport to receive much needed parts and materials for improving local water and sanitation systems, rebuilding Gaza and developing the territory.

 

Go to: Water Resources in Gaza

 

Watch LifeSource film Gaza is Floating



[i] “Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,” para. 1023, UN Doc. A/HRC/12/48 (15 September 2009).

[ii] Coastal Municipalities Water Utility, Damage Assessment Report: Water and Waste Water Infrastructure and Facilities, (January 2009), p. 5, in LifeSource (January 2009) “Israel’s military bombardment and ongoing siege of Gaza is threatening residents with a water and sanitation catastrophe.”

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