In section: Prayers and Reflections
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Week 5 - When Israel uses water as a tool of coercion, churches must act decisively

Reflection for the Seven Weeks for Water 2016 - Week 5

By Ranjan Solomon*

In Gaza, 30 to 40 percent of all disease-related deaths are caused by bad water[1]. The multiple cases of kidney and liver diseases Gaza have to do with salts and minerals in the water. 95% of the water that Palestinians in Gaza have been consuming for decades has been proven unfit for human consumption[2].

Israel’s ten-year old blockade of Gaza is dominantly a war waged on water. Israel knows that when it obstructs supplies to refurbish, preserve, or develop water infrastructure, it protracts the damage done during times of attack. Restricting Palestinian access to water has turned what was once a community-managed resource into a commodity now unaffordable to most people. Israel has made water a legitimate tool of coercion and control to achieve the Occupation’s goals. In all military operations, Israel has perpetuated the humanitarian crises by targeting and relentlessly adopting a policy of destroying Palestinian water resources. One often finds Arab villages and Jewish locations barely a mile or two apart living with scandalous differences in water allocations. While Israelis enjoy lush gardens, swimming pools and gardens, the Palestinians must make good with water whose quality is downgraded.  It tastes bad or has foreign particles floating in it. But, they will accept it because there is no alternative. Bad water is better than no water at all.

Israel is not only perpetuating a regime of perverse water ceilings for Palestinians. Through the restrictions, it is both weakening Palestinian morale and pocketbooks. The policy of denying Palestinian communities access to water must actually be viewed as a tool of warfare that is undermining Palestinian resistance. Materials being allowed to enter Gaza, like generators, limited fuel, and water trucks, only compensate temporarily are mere eyewash. These barely alleviate the consequences of Israel's water warfare.

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