New report by Gisha: Who is responsible for the state of Gaza’s infrastructure?

Sewage in Wadi Gaza, with Gaza's sole power plant in the background

Sewage in Wadi Gaza, with Gaza’s sole power plant in the background

January 24, 2017. Even if Gaza’s only power plant operated at its full capacity, it would supply only a third of Gaza’s need for electricity. Gaza buys its electricity from Israel and Egypt, and still, its two million residents get no more than eight straight hours of service, followed by eight-hour blackouts.

Tap water isn’t potable either – 97 percent of Gaza’s groundwater is contaminated. The Strip’s sewage infrastructure is dilapidated and does not reach all areas. Sewage treatment is partial, given the lack of energy, such that millions of liters of partially treated or untreated sewage flows into the sea daily. Existing desalination facilities, and those under construction, fall far short of closing the deficit in potable water.

Communications infrastructure also lag behind, preventing economic and social development.

None of this is the result of force majeure. It is caused entirely by inaction, neglect or deliberate de-development for which all sorts of explanations are given. How did it get this way? What would it take to end this miserable state of affairs, which could, at any moment, put the lives of hundreds of thousands of people all over the region at risk, regardless of man-made borders?

A new report by Gisha, Hand on the Switch, reviews the backstory on Gaza’s infrastructure, and, for the first time, maps out the responsibilities of the parties involved – Israel, Palestinian authorities in Gaza and Ramallah, Egypt and the international community. The report analyzes how responsibility for remedying the situation is shared among the different actors and offers recommendations to help prevent the collapse of Gaza’s infrastructure and even advance its maintenance and development in the short-, medium- and long-term.

To access a PDF version of the full report, click here.