ISRAEL: From the sewer to the sea


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This one is not for readers with delicate stomachs. Consider yourselves warned.

Much has rightly been made of the myriad deprivations suffered by residents of the Gaza Strip because of the 10-month-long economic siege of the territory imposed by Israel and Egypt after Hamas took control last summer.

Merchants have run short of everything, from auto parts to diapers; an alarming percentage of the population now lives on international aid; and all but emergency surgical procedures are put on the back burner because of shortages of most medical supplies.


Now comes a new sign of Gaza’s desperate state — one that should disturb fans of the Mediterranean beaches in Israel and Egypt.

A new United Nations report states that public utilities officials in Gaza have pumped millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Mediterranean over the last three months.The shortage of fuel and constant power cuts make it impossible to treat the sewage, the report states:

Full sewage treatment requires 14 continuous days of uninterrupted power supply which cannot occur due to daily power cuts and insufficient fuel to operate power-supplying and back-up generators.’

According to the report, the sewage flows northward toward the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon.

— Ashraf Khalil in Jerusalem