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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
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Israel Prepares to Increase Water Supply to Gaza


Thu 27 Jun 2024 | 11:37 AM
Israa Farhan

Israel is gearing up to boost electricity supplies to a desalination plant in Gaza, aiming to increase water production for the strip's residents under mounting pressure from Western allies to alleviate the humanitarian crisis.

According to an Israeli security official and a Western official, the plan involves supplying power to a major desalination facility in Khan Younis.

This initiative comes as Israel faces significant pressure from allies, including Washington, to scale back its military operations and allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Western aid agencies report that the ongoing conflict has resulted in severe food and water shortages and a collapse of the sewage system in Gaza. The conflict erupted following a Hamas attack on Israel on October 7.

The Israeli plan, details of which were shared with Reuters, aims to channel electricity from Israel to the Khan Younis desalination plant, which was established in 2017 with UN funding.

This plant is critical for providing drinking water to areas in Deir al-Balah, Khan Younis, and Mawasi, regions where many residents have been displaced by the conflict.

Currently, the plant's capacity is about 20,000 cubic meters of water per day, but it only produces about 1,500 cubic meters due to power shortages.

Gaza largely relies on Israel for its electricity needs, but these supplies have been disrupted since the outbreak of the war.

An Israeli official, speaking anonymously, mentioned that the planned electricity supply could potentially provide water for up to one million people in Gaza.

However, no timeline for the implementation has been specified. Presently, Gaza residents meet their electricity needs through generators and solar power.

The plan has received approval from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and awaits further governmental approvals.

There are, however, factions within the government opposing the initiative.

The Prime Minister's office did not respond to Reuters' request for comment.

A Western official familiar with the plan indicated that preparations are underway to restore power to the plant, noting that Defense Minister Gallant had agreed to restart the power line during a recent meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Israel.

The official stated that Palestinian engineers in Gaza are currently verifying the line's safety.