Israel Weaponizes Water

By November 2023, it was already clear that the Israeli government had begun to deny Palestinians in Gaza access to water. “Every hour that passes with Israel preventing the provision of safe drinking water in the Gaza strip, in brazen breach of international law, puts Gazans at risk of dying of thirst and diseases related to the lack of safe drinking water,” said Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, UN special rapporteur on human rights and its relationship to safe drinking water.

In early October 2023, Israeli officials indicated that they would use their control over Gaza’s water systems as a means to perpetrate genocide. As Israeli Major General Ghassan Alian, the head of the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), said on October 10, “Human beasts are dealt with accordingly. Israel has imposed a total blockade on Gaza. No electricity, no water, just damage. You wanted hell, you will get hell.”

Before Israel’s most recent attack on Gaza, 97 percent of the water in Gaza’s only coastal aquifer was already unsafe for human consumption based on World Health Organisation standards. Over the course of its many attacks, Israel has all but destroyed Gaza’s water purification system and prevented the entry of materials and chemicals needed for repair.