Gaza's sewage flows into the Mediterranean. (AP/Khalil Hamra) (AP/Khalil Hamra)
Gaza sewage sea
Yuval Steinitz

Minister Yuval Steinitz. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

Israel is set to increase its supply of electricity to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in order to help enable the Palestinians to operate a new sewage treatment plant there and to reduce water pollution, which is also affecting Israel.

Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Yuval Steinitz recently approved the new initiative to supply Gaza with electricity, according to Yedioth Ahronoth.

Large amounts of raw sewage from Gaza have been flowing into the Mediterranean Sea and has forced one of Israel’s largest desalination plants in the southern city of Ashkelon to shut down numerous times due to high water pollution levels.

In a statement, Israel’s Environment Ministry said it closely monitors the Gaza sewage situation. Most of the waste is consumed by algae but a buildup of algae can block filters at the desalination plant, it said, adding that a recent check of the water quality off Ashkelon found the beaches suitable for bathing.

Through the assistance of international donors such as the World Bank, a $100 million sewage treatment plant was built in Gaza. But Hamas, the Palestinian terror group that controls Gaza, has failed to allocate the necessary electricity to operate the facility and instead has let raw sewage to be periodically dumped in the Mediterranean or seep into the ground, leading to pollution of the underground aquifers and the decimating of local fishing zones.

Disagreements between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority over fuel taxes have left Gaza’s only power plant functioning at reduced capacity.

By: JNS.org and United with Israel Staff