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Why is Rainwater Collection Banned in Gaza?

“Israel also restricts the importing of water and sewer piping into Palestinian areas citing the use of such pipe to make rockets, but while steel water pipes can be used to make rockets, more commonly used materials like cement, PVC, ABS, Pex, and CPVC cannot sustain the burst strength and temperatures required for rockets.”

Photo by Diane Serik on Unsplash

Having recently learned that rainwater collection by Palestinians is banned throughout Israel and that Palestinian owned wells and cisterns are often destroyed by the Israeli state, I decided to look into the reasons these actions have been taking place throughout Israel.

In the American West and Midwest there are numerous states where rainwater collection and the drilling of wells are heavily regulated. That said, I know of no places where wells meant for personal use are banned except in places which have municipal water supplies to supply personal needs. Some areas do restrict or ban rainwater collection as the rainwater is needed to fill regional and local reservoirs.

Israel also restricts the importing of water and sewer piping into Palestinian areas citing the use of such pipe to make rockets, but while steel water pipes can be used to make rockets, more commonly used materials like cement, PVC, ABS, Pex, and CPVC cannot sustain the burst strength and temperatures required for rockets.

Now I could be wrong about the use of plastic to make rockets but nowhere was I able to find references to plastic rockets for anything other than hobbies, and the following video made and shared by the Israeli Defence Forces clearly shows the use of steel pipe.

As one who used to be a welder’s helper in the construction of underground utilities including water lines I clearly recognize the pipe wrapping and metal working tools along with the fact that sections of plastic pipe no bigger than what is shown in the video can easily be loaded on the truck by hand more quickly than can be done using the crane.

Here in my hometown of Greensboro, North Carolina, USA, trenchless methods using coils of plastic pipe were invented to replace water pipes by pulling them through the old pipes while destroying the old pipes in the process. How is it that Israel is decades behind in the most cost efficient means of replacing old pipes ever invented?

The City of Greensboro is 136 square miles with a population of 280,000 people. The Gaza Strip is 141 square miles with a population of 2.2 million people and yet the water is regulated by Israel,

“Soon after Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, in June 1967, the Israeli military authorities consolidated complete power over all water resources and water-related infrastructure in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). 50 years on, Israel continues to control and restrict Palestinian access to water in the OPT to a level which neither meets their needs nor constitutes a fair distribution of shared water resources.”

And,

“In Gaza, some 90–95 per cent of the water supply is contaminated and unfit for human consumption. Israel does not allow water to be transferred from the West Bank to Gaza, and Gaza’s only fresh water resource, the Coastal Aquifer, is insufficient for the needs of the population and is being increasingly depleted by over-extraction and contaminated by sewage and seawater infiltration.”

While the argument could be made that fresh water originating in the West Bank is needed to fill reservoirs like the Sea of Galilee, Jordan River, and some 230+ man made reservoirs that would be referred to as waste water treatment plants here in the USA, all the rainwater in the Gaza Strip flows into the sea, not into Israeli reservoirs. As can be seen on this map from The Global Education Project there are no water resources in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile,

“Israeli settlers living alongside Palestinians in the West Bank — in some cases just a few hundred meters away — face no such restrictions and water shortages, and can enjoy and capitalize on well-irrigated farmlands and swimming pools.”

While wildlife might be making a comeback in the Wadi the Palestinians are dying of thirst despite the fact that Palestinians are taxed by Israel despite not having representation. Ironically, while numerous Israeli publications claim that Palestinians are not paying for the water they use, where I live water is given freely to the poor and water conservation efforts are funded by the government. From an August 2023 article at AP.

“But the overall supply is shrinking as the demands of Israeli and Palestinian societies outpace natural replenishment. In the majority of the West Bank where Israel maintains full civilian and security control, Palestinians cannot dig or deepen wells without hard-to-get permits. Since 2021, Israeli authorities have demolished nearly 160 unauthorized Palestinian reservoirs, sewage networks and wells across the West Bank and east Jerusalem, according to the United Nations humanitarian agency, OCHA.”

Where I live tanker trucks are only used for construction and to fill swimming pools. And when there is drought everyone learns how to use less water, even our local Jewish population and the richest neighborhoods in town. But then this is America where wholesale long term mass killings of the poorest among us would never be allowed.

From Snopes.com,

“ A Washington Post report on water supplies during the 2023 war found that there had been no natural surface water in Gaza since the early 2000s. The enclave had to depend on Israel’s National Water Carrier to supplement its groundwater sources, which the PWA purchased. In 2021, however, only 6% of Gaza’s water came from Israel.”

According to Haaretz, Israel Is Using Humanitarian Aid as a Strategic Weapon in Gaza. Is the same true of water? Is water simple another means by which Israel is conducting a slow genocide in the world’s largest concentration camp.

There is the argument that wells in the Gaza serve to deplete the polluted ground water, but like we learned in the American Midwest, replacing ground water with rain water takes centuries, not weeks, months or years. All the water on the Gaza Strip runs into the sea so any argument that rain water falling on the Gaza Strip refills underground aquifers is a myth..

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Gaza Strip
Genocide
Palestinian Genocide
Water Shortage In Gaza
Billy Jones
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