CBNNews.com - GAZA STRIP - In a report released Wednesday, the United Nations blamed Israel for the Gaza Water Authority dumping untreated sewage into the Mediterranean.
"This sewage cannot be treated due to the lack of a steady electricity supply within the Gaza Strip, Israel's restrictions on fuel imports, and prohibitions on the import of materials and necessary spare parts," the UN report states.
But Israel refuted the claims and said the problem is not new.
"The Palestinians have been pumping partially treated and untreated sewage water into the sea for years and not just since the beginning of the year [as the UN report states]," Israel Water Authority spokesman Uri Schor said.
"The State of Israel assists in various ways to the pumping and water distribution and to the continued operation of the sewage treatment plants," he said.
"That assistance includes approval to transfer most of the equipment the Palestinian Authority [PA] has requested. The rest is in the process of being verified -- and all the diesel fuel necessary to run the plants," Schor said.
"These plants have not been affected by any cutbacks in electricity," he said.
The UN report also accused Israel of holding up plans to improve the sewage treatment plans in Gaza.
Schor claims that contrary to the report, Israel is helping move the projects forward.
"Israel is very much assisting in the approval, funding [$45 million] and in executing a large project to deal with northern Gaza's sewage, despite the continuing situation [ongoing terror attacks]," Schor said.
"Likewise, the construction of a large treatment plant in central Gaza has also been approved, and Israel is willing to help build two more plants in the southern region of the Strip," he said.
Schor said the Palestinian Authority should learn how to reuse treated sewage water for agriculture.
"Right now, 70 percent of Israel's sewage is treated and recycled, and the plan is to recycle all of it," he said.
"In the PA, all of the agriculture uses fresh water and using recycled water would enable the Palestinians to direct tens of millions of cubic meters of water for household use," he said.
"Responsible management by the PA would add a respectable amount of expensive fresh water to their supply," Schor said.
But the UN overlooked those facts in its report.
Sources: The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz