Israel Restores Water to Southern Gaza

AP Photo/Yousef Masoud

As the Israel-Hamas War enters its second week and Israel prepares to mount its ground offensive, Israel has restored water service to southern Gaza. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office told CNN Sunday Israel has restored water to southern Gaza, but the director of the Palestinian Water Authority said he could not be sure it was true, because electricity has not been restored.

“I cannot confirm this at the moment because our water stations in Khan Younis, Gaza City, and central Gaza are not in a condition to receive and distribute water to the people,” Munther Shublaq, the director of the Water Authority in Gaza, told CNN.

“To enable the stations to receive and distribute water, we need electricity, which is currently cut off. The alternative is fuel to power the generator, which we also do not have. There may be pressure to restore the water supply, but I cannot confirm anything until the stations are ready.”

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On Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sulivan relayed the same information to Jake Tapper on CNN's State of the Union.

Israel laid siege to the Gaza Strip on Monday, following the vicious October 7 attacks by Hamas in Israel, shutting off electricity, food, fuel, and water to the area. 

Hamas’ attack on Israel has gripped the region in a violent and bloody conflict, the most tumultuous in decades. Now, the situation is escalating even further as Israel has ordered a siege of the Gaza Strip, the territory run by the terrorist organization.

The siege has put a halt on deliveries of food, fuel, and other essential supplies. The move comes in response to Hamas’ surprise assault on Saturday that killed 700 Israelis and nine Americans. The extremist group has also taken hundreds of hostages.

Israel’s military ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip on Monday, halting deliveries of food, fuel and supplies to its 2.3 million people as it pounded the Hamas-ruled territory with waves of airstrikes in retaliation for the militants’ bloody weekend incursion.

More than two days after Hamas launched its surprise attack, the Israeli military said it had largely gained control in its southern towns where it had been battling Hamas gunmen. Israel’s vaunted military and intelligence apparatus was caught completely off guard by Hamas, resulting in heavy battles in its streets for the first time in decades.

Israeli tanks and drones were deployed to guard breaches in the Gaza border fence to prevent new incursions. Thousands of Israelis were evacuated from more than a dozen towns near Gaza, and the military summoned 300,000 reservists — a massive mobilization in a short time.

The moves, along with Israel’s formal declaration of war on Sunday, pointed to Israel increasingly shifting to the offensive against Hamas, threatening greater destruction in the densely populated, impoverished Gaza Strip.

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While many on the left decried Israel's response, recent polling indicates Americans generally support efforts taken by Israel to defend itself. 

The survey graphic indicates that 50 percent of the Americans surveyed find the full invasion and occupation of Gaza "reasonable," as opposed to 28 percent who find it "unreasonable." 45 percent find a blockade of electricity, food, fuel, and water reasonable, as opposed to 36 percent unreasonable, 44 percent find "widespread bombing" reasonable, as opposed to 35 percent unreasonable, and finally, 60 percent find air strikes on Hamas targets reasonable, as opposed to 20 percent unreasonable.

Sullivan told Tapper, on Sunday:

“I can tell you this morning that I have been in touch with my Israeli counterparts just within the last hour who report to me that they have in fact turned the water pipe back on in Southern Gaza.”

Asked by Tapper about the distinction between Israel's response and that of the Russians in Ukraine, Sullivan stated: 

“First, thank you for saying that Israel is not Russia,” Sullivan first responded.

“Civilians are civilians,” Tapper said.

Sullivan responded, “Yes, absolutely they are. They deserve, as I said before, access to water and medicine, and we are working actively to ensure that that happens.”

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