Hamas has ruled the Gaza Strip unopposed since 2007. Yet everything that goes wrong in the Gaza Strip is blamed by the Palestinians not on Hamas, but on Israel. Is there crushing poverty in Gaza? Blame Israel instead of the corruption and mismanagement by Hamas leaders. High unemployment? Blame Israel for not hiring more Palestinian workers, which is seen as the Jewish state’s responsibility, despite the obvious potential for terrorism by some of those workers. Is the infrastructure in Gaza collapsing? Surely Israel is to blame. And the fact that the Gazans themselves have for years allowed raw sewage to be spewed out into the Mediterranean, while waiting for others to solve their problems, is also blamed on Israel. It’s the Jewish state, not the Gazans themselves, who should provide the Strip with water treatment plants. A report on the raw sewage in Gaza, and the effect of its new water treatment plant, can be found here: “Somehow, Gaza’s beaches are clean this year. But I thought Israel didn’t allow sewage treatment facilities to be built!,” Elder of Ziyon, June 24, 2022:
When Gaza suffers from environmental catastrophes, Israel is blamed because it supposedly blocks lifesaving infrastructure from being set up.
Yet this year, Gaza’s beaches have re-opened after being closed due to tons of sewage being dumped into the sea.
Palestinians in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip are rediscovering the pleasures of the Mediterranean Sea, after authorities declared the end of a long period of hazardous marine pollution.
Marine pollution has worsened in recent years in Gaza, where insufficient wastewater solutions have turned the Mediterranean into a dump.
The problem has been further exacerbated by the dilapidated infrastructure of the impoverished and overcrowded enclave.
[S]ix months ago, a German-funded plant began operating in central Gaza, and now treats 60,000 cubic metres (more than 2 million cubic feet) of wastewater per day, which is half the enclave’s sewage, according to Mohammed Masleh, an official at Gaza’s environment ministry.
This is just the first phase of the project, and eventually, the plant could treat all wastewater in the territory.
The quality of marine water in Gaza has already improved significantly.
Now, according to samples collected by Gazan authorities, two-thirds of the enclave’s beaches are suitable for swimming, said Masleh.
How can this be? Isn’t there still a blockade where Israel is depriving Gaza of basic necessities needed for living?
Could it be that Israel never blocked materials for treating wastewater to begin with, and the problems came because the PA and Hamas didn’t prioritize the quality of life of the people they are responsible for?…
Israel does allow building materials into Gaza, as long as it knows what they are to be used for, can calculate the amounts that will be needed for a particular project, and.make sure that none of it is diverted to other, military uses. Israel has no desire to prevent a water treatment plant from being built in Gaza. In fact, since the raw sewage from Gaza renders most unpleasant not only the Strip’s beaches, but also, depending on the winds and currents, those beaches just north in Israel, the Israelis have their own reasons for wanting the Gazans to clean up their own coastal waters.
As Elder of Ziyon notes, Hamas never prioritized water treatment plants. It didn’t care that Gazans were forced to endure filthy beaches, strewn with raw sewage, and swimmers were forced to swim in their own waste, or prevented from swimming altogether. Ordinary Gazans had to live with the sight and the stench of it all. Hamas rulers either live abroad – Khaled Meshaal lives in Doha, while former Hamas leader Mousa bin Marzouk lives in New Cairo, Egypt — or live in lavish villas far from the coast. They are not affected by the state of the beaches.
Hamas could long ago have built – that is, hired foreigners to build, as the Palestinians in Gaza are incapable of carrying out such a project themselves – a water treatment plant. Why didn’t they? First, the massive corruption used up much of the aid that was sent to Gaza. Just two Hamas leaders, Khaled Meshaal and Mousa ibn Marzouk, have each managed to amass fortunes of $2.5 billion. Five billion dollars could have built not one, but a whole series of water treatment plants. Second, Hamas chose to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a network of underground tunnels, where both weapons and fighters could be moved about while remaining hidden from Israeli attack. Third, Hamas spent money on weapons to fight the Zionists. All of this aid money, stolen by Hamas leaders, or spent on tunnels and weapons, could have long ago been used for water treatment plants that would have made Gaza’s beaches as clean as those of Israel. It was Hamas’s choice to put that plant far down on its list of priorities.
Now, with no thanks to Hamas, Germans have paid for and built the first water treatment plant in Gaza. Half of the beaches, as a consequence, have been cleaned up. Another such plant will complete the task. It could all have been accomplished many years ago, beginning in 2007, when Hamas began its unchallenged rule in Gaza, and could have made a water treatment plant its first order of business. But Hamas had other things to focus on, that it deemed so much more important, like taking delivery of tens of thousands of rockets and missiles, and hiding them throughout the Strip, and building a vast and expensive network of tunnels to ensure the free movement of fighters and weapons underground, where Hamas thought, wrongly, that the IDF would have great difficulty in finding them.
Now half the beaches in Gaza are open for swimming. Ordinary Gazans may be ruled by the despotic and corrupt leaders of Hamas, but at least they can reclaim their seaside, where at long last they can now enjoy their own strip of the Mediterranean coast.