'Hamas won't allow a desalination facility'

Palestinian Authority, Hamas, blame each other for Gaza's humanitarian crisis.

Contact Editor
Dalit Halevi,

Gaza
Gaza
iStock

The Palestinian Authority Wafa news agency claimed Hamas is hindering the construction of an enormous desalination plant southwest of the central Gazan city Deir al-Balah.

Gaza Central Region Governor Abdullah Abu Samahdana called on the ruling Hamas-appointed committee, which functions as an independent government, to remove all obstacles to building the desalination plant.

In light of the severe shortage of drinking water in Gaza, this plant is of "strategical" importance, Samahdana said.

According to him, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas publicized an order instructing Gaza to allocate one hundred dunams (24.7 acres) west of the southern city Khan Yunis for an alternate power plant which will supply electricity to the desalination plant, regardless of whether the rest of the area has electricity.

However, he said, Hamas' Lands Authority refuses to implement Abbas' decision on the subject.

Water Authority Deputy Head Riahi al-Sheikh said the desalination plant will be built on a plot of 80 dunams (19.7 acres), and preparations for its construction include a wall which has already been built. However, al-Sheikh said, the project is waiting for approval from Hamas' Lands Authority.

Meanwhile, the PA and Hamas blamed each other for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. In March, Hamas founded the Committee for Management of the Gaza Strip, which functions as an independent government separate from the PA.

Hamas claims the PA is causing the humanitarian situation in Gaza to worsen, since its policies - intended to force Hamas to disband the committee and agree to Abbas' leadership - harm Gaza financially. At the same time, the PA sees Hamas as bearing full responsibility for the facts on the ground.

According to the United Nations, the water and electricity crisis caused by the PA-Hamas infighting has made Gaza "unlivable."

Meanwhile, Israel gives Gazans fresh water, but receives raw sewage in return. In July, Gaza's sewage polluted Israeli aquifers so badly that they were forced to close.








top