There has been much criticism leveled against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who permitted Qatar to send $15 million in cash to Hamas in Gaza, which Mr. Netanyahu insists was going to be used by Hamas to pay back salaries to government employees.
According to Ynet, political and security sources claimed that one of the considerations was the urgent need to operate the sewage treatment facilities in Gaza, which could lead to an outbreak and spread of diseases in Israel.
A large amount of criticism has been voiced in Israel for approving the transfer of the Qatari grant, consisting of six-monthly payments of $15 million for salaries and another $10 million for diesel fuel for the power plant in Gaza, which has worked very little due to the lack of fuel. Last month, the first payment was transferred and at the beginning of next month the second payment is expected to be transferred.
The proximity of the transfer of funds and the rocket fire into Israel after the military operation inside Gaza, has led to increased criticism of Netanyahu, but the transfer of funds also serves Israeli interests and needs, hoping to avoid the spread of disease originating in Gaza. The difficult situation in Gaza, which caused the electricity crisis, led to the cessation of the operation of the five sewage treatment plants, and the sewage of Gaza was pumped into the sea and rivers, some of which flow into Israeli territory.
The shortage of running water in Gaza and non-functioning sewage has led to illness; including jaundice, polio, typhus, cholera and dysentery. In Israel, officials feared that the disease could cross into Israel via water runoff and sewage.
The Qatari money and the flow of large amounts of diesel fuel to the Gaza power plant have meanwhile restored sewage treatment facilities. In addition, increasing electricity activity has resulted in an average household in Gaza receiving running water once every two days, instead of once a week, reducing the chance of outbreaks of disease, the report cites.
The UN was not satisfied with this and asked for preventive treatment in Gaza, and because of the internal Palestinian dispute between Gaza and Ramallah, it itself ordered a huge shipment of vaccines from abroad that was brought into Gaza with Israeli approval.
The vaccinations were introduced despite the fact that they did not meet the Israeli standard, which is determined by the Ministry of Health, because they originate from India. The shipment of vaccines entered Gaza last week via the Kerem Shalom Crossing after arriving by boat to the port of Ashdod.
This will hopefully remove or significantly reduce the risk of outbreaks of epidemics in Gaza and subsequently in Israel chas v’sholom.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)