The Crisis in Gaza and the West Bank


The occupation is a significant factor in the water shortages and sanitation issues in the Palestinian territory. Water resources of the West Bank and Gaza are fully controlled by Israel and the division of groundwater is subject to provisions in the Oslo Accords.

The water situation in Gaza is a public health catastrophe. With dire water and electricity shortages in one of the planet’s most densely populated areas, the threat of a pandemic in Gaza—and also across Israel’s borders—is real.

Generally, the water quality is considerably worse in the Gaza strip compared to the West Bank. About a third to half of the water delivered in the Palestinian territories is lost in the distribution network. The lasting blockade of the Gaza Strip and the Gaza Wars have caused severe damage to the infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Concerning wastewater, the existing treatment plants do not have the capacity to treat all of the produced sewage, causing severe water pollution.

J Street and the Women’s Leadership Forum recognize that access to potable water is a fundamental human security need and, therefore, we support efforts to provide access across Gaza and the West Bank to this essential source of life.


  1. The most recent Gaza war of 2014 severely damaged the water delivery system, electrical grid and, therefore, Gaza’s ability to properly treat the human waste of more than 1.8 million people.
  2. Raw sewage is polluting the waters off the coast of Gaza.
  3. Mediterranean currents are drawing the polluted waters northward along the Israeli coast line.
  4. It is only a matter of time until a pandemic outbreak threatens not only Gaza but Israel as well.
  5. Jordan, Israel and Palestinian water authorities have already negotiated and mapped a strategy to solve the water crisis. However, the process is held up because, as part of the Oslo Agreement, it is bound to disputes over other key issues related to achieving the two-state solution.
  6. We support extricating this issue from the framework of the Oslo Agreement and encouraging Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan to address these pressing needs immediately


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