Municipalities in Gaza announced Wednesday they will pump sewage straight into the sea
due to fuel shortages and the humanitarian situation in the Hamas-controlled area.
"The beaches of the Gaza Strip will be completely closed and sewage will be pumped into the sea because the municipalities are unable to provide fuel" for treatment plants, Gaza City Municipality Head Nizar Hejazi said.
Hejazi also noted "the policy of collective punishment (which) continues to be imposed on the population," in a statement representing municipalities across Gaza.
"We announce a state of emergency in the cities and municipalities of the Gaza Strip," Hejazi said, noting services would be cut by as much as 50 percent.
The only power plant in Gaza stopped operating last week due to lack of fuel, leaving the strip totally reliant on imports.
This is not the first time Gaza is threatening to pollute international waters. For decades, Gaza’s inadequate waste treatment system has been a burden both to Gaza residents and neighboring countries on the Mediterranean coast. The area's waste treatment plant, built with $100 million of foreign aid, has been largely inactive due to Hamas' refusal to allocate electricity to operate the facility.
Instead, the terror group simply allows raw waste to dump into the Mediterranean or seep into the ground, polluting underground aquifers and harming the local water supply.
In turn, the Gazan waste has at times forced Israel to close its desalinization plant in Ashkelon, an important asset in Israel’s water supply. And Hamas themselves refuse to allow the construction of a desalination plant for Gaza's citizens.
Hamas leaders enjoy electricity 24 hours a day. However, Gaza's other residents currently receive electricity for only a few hours power per day, a situation for which they blame Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.
Earlier this month, US Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt slammed Hamas for investing in efforts to destroy Israel instead of in efforts to better the lives of Gaza's citizens.
"Hamas should be improving the lives of those it purports to govern, but instead chooses to increase violence and cause misery for the people of Gaza. Imagine what the people of Gaza could do with the $100 million Iran gives Hamas annually that Hamas uses for weapons and tunnels to attack Israel!" he tweeted.
Last month the United Nations envoy warned the enclave was on the verge of "full collapse."