US joins effort to ‘transform’ wastewater reuse in Palestinian territories

Trump envoy Jason Greenblatt calls on the Palestinian Authority to eject Hamas from power in Gaza.

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September 19, 2017 04:44
2 minute read.
Gaza Strip

Palestinian children in Gaza fetch water from a container. (photo credit: REUTERS)

NEW YORK – The US government will join Israel and the Palestinian Authority in an effort to “transform” how wastewater is treated and reused in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, a senior Trump administration official said.

Speaking at a UN committee hearing on Monday, Jason Greenblatt, the president’s special representative for international negotiations, spoke of the “devastating” effects that dirty water has on both peoples.

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Contaminated water is the single largest cause of illness and disease among infants in Gaza – think about that for a moment,” he said. “Parents in Gaza cannot even give their children a drink of water without exposing them to significant risks.”

As a result, Greenblatt said the administration was committing itself to resolving the issue, which has had the rare effect of unifying Israel and the PA.

“I am pleased to announce that the United States will join them in this endeavor by working to advance a plan that transforms the wastewater treatment and reuse sector in the West Bank and Gaza,” Greenblatt told the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee. “As part of this effort, we will work with the parties and the donor community – and again, we welcome active engagement from our partners – to develop a comprehensive strategy for wastewater treatment and reuse in the West Bank and Gaza.”

The Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, established in 1993, is a 15-member committee that serves as the principal policy-level coordination mechanism for development assistance to the Palestinian people.

Greenblatt brought to the UN a message of pragmatism, tampering expectations that any major breakthroughs were on the horizon in his greater effort to forge a comprehensive Israeli- Palestinian peace agreement.

But he said the time for slow talk on the humanitarian situation in Gaza had come to an end.

“For too long, Hamas has exploited the people of Gaza as hostages and shields, bullying them into submission.

Hamas rules by the fist, instead of by improving the lives of the people it purports to govern,” he told the gathering. “Hamas continues to divert money belonging to the Palestinians of Gaza – including funds provided by international donors – and uses these funds to build terror tunnels, missiles and for other nefarious uses. This has a huge impact on Gaza’s development, as major electricity and water projects which could radically transform the humanitarian situation in Gaza, are on hold because Hamas refuses to pay the Palestinian Authority for the services it already provides.”


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