Water pipeline (illustration)
Water pipeline (illustration) Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israel is to double the amount of water it channels annually to Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the government body said Israel is to increase the volume of water it provides to Gaza from five to 10 million cubic meters (175 to 350 million cubic feet) per annum, beginning within days.

The decision was in response to growing needs in the Hamas terror enclave, she told AFP.

The severe water shortage was due to "excessive overuse of groundwater resources along the coast" of Gaza, the spokeswoman said. The water is to flow through a new pipe already in place.

COGAT chief Major General Yoav Mordechai hoped that "Hamas would not steal water from civilians as they steal construction materials intended for the reconstruction of houses" in Gaza.

Hamas regularly uses UN and other aid money, as well as materials, to build terror tunnels into Israeli territory with the aim of attacking Israeli citizens in lieu of reconstruction; evidence surfaced months ago that Hamas has already begun to rebuild these tunnels despite the IDF's pummeling the region during Operation Protective Edge. 

The declaration also follows AFP's own false report just last week that Israel "flooded" Gaza with a nonexistent dam - despite the fact that Israel has no dams in the south. COGAT confirmed that any flooding was due to heavy rains passing through the region last month. 

And last August, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) claimed that Gaza's water shortage had reached the level of "an acute crisis," and implied that Israel may be responsible - despite the fact that Israel continued to send humanitarian aid into Gaza throughout the war.