July 2, 2024 | Flash Brief

Aiming to Boost Supply of Clean Water, Israel Connects Power Line to Gaza Desalination Plant

July 2, 2024 | Flash Brief

Aiming to Boost Supply of Clean Water, Israel Connects Power Line to Gaza Desalination Plant

Latest Developments

In a bid to boost the supply of clean drinking water to the Palestinian population in Gaza, Israel on July 2 connected a power line to a main desalination plant in the strip,Reuters reported. A statement issued by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) — an Israeli Ministry of Defense agency focused on the supply of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian territories — said that the plant, located in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, was directly connected to the Israeli grid and would be managed by UNICEF, a United Nations humanitarian agency. “The increase in [the] supply of water is a further step taken to support humanitarian efforts for Gazan residents, and to prevent contamination and outbreaks of disease during the summer months,” the COGAT statement announced.

Col. Elad Goren, a spokesperson for COGAT, told a press briefing that electricity was expected to start running at the plant within two weeks, once they “fix the lines from the Gazan side.” Goren added that the electricity supply would be paid for by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, as was the case before the current war triggered by Hamas’s atrocities in southern Israel on October 7. Once the supply of electricity begins, the plant will be able to produce 20,000 cubic meters of water daily for the nearly 2 million Palestinians currently living in a humanitarian zone located around al-Mawasi, Khan Younis, and Deir al-Balah. The connection to the Israeli grid is designed to prevent Hamas from siphoning off electricity; Israel has warned that the power supply will be disconnected should that happen. A spokesperson for UNICEF welcomed the Israeli announcement, describing it as “an important milestone” that “we are very much looking forward to seeing … implemented.”

Expert Analysis

“Hamas mismanagement and malice, exemplified by the terrorist group digging up water pipes to refashion into rockets, has led Gaza into a water crisis. Palestinians could benefit greatly from Israel’s prowess as a global desalination leader. Instead, Hamas has used the life-sustaining water infrastructure to rain death on Israelis.” — David May, FDD Research Manager and Senior Research Analyst

“Israel’s military efforts are focused on combating Hamas and other terrorist organizations, not the Palestinian population. This is evident from the Jewish state’s efforts to reopen vital aid crossings and reconnect power to provide clean water to Gaza residents despite the risks of these gestures being exploited by Hamas.” Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Israel Determined To Prevent Escalation of Gaza Humanitarian Crisis

An unnamed Israeli defense source told The Times of Israel that the water provided by the desalination plant would be a “game changer” in Israel’s efforts to prevent a humanitarian disaster in Gaza. The same outlet reported that Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant “was personally involved in pushing forward the desalination plant project, part of wider plans by Israel to prioritize humanitarian issues in Gaza and a policy to differentiate between Palestinian civilians and Hamas.” Israel has provided 40,035 tons of water to Gaza since the war began, according to a COGAT assessment on July 2.

Study Finds Food Aid to Gaza Exceeds International Standards,” FDD Flash Brief

IDF Focuses on Humanitarian Aid in Gaza,” by Seth J. Frantzman

Israel to Set Up Coordination Room for Gaza Aid,” FDD Flash Brief

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