The Commander of the Palestinian National Security Service in Gaza, Na’eem Al-Ghoul, has pointed out that the situation on the border with Egypt has deteriorated daily since the authorities in Cairo started to flood the zone with seawater, QudsNet reported on Monday.
“The flooding is creating an environmental disaster,” Al-Ghoul told a local radio station, “even though the Palestinian Ministry of Housing and Works has done a lot to limit the effects of the seawater.” The current situation, he added, is becoming unbearable.
He called for all sides to move very quickly to stop the process, and for the Egyptian government to consider the “disastrous humanitarian consequences” of its tactic. “The seawater is having a serious effect on Gaza’s fresh water aquifer,” confirmed Al-Ghoul.
The Egyptian army started flooding the border zone with seawater last September in an attempt, it claimed, to destroy all the tunnels between Gaza and Sinai. The tunnels have been described by independent observers as the “lifeline” for the Palestinians besieged in the Gaza Strip.
Although an Israeli minister said recently that the Egyptians flooded the border at Israel’s request, this has been denied by the government in Cairo. On a previous occasion, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that the Egyptians made the move in cooperation with him.
It is agreed by all, however, that the war on the tunnels and the closure of the Rafah Crossing are part of the Israeli-led siege, which has been imposed on Gaza since 2006. The closure and destruction of the tunnels is having a catastrophic effect on the basic livelihoods of millions of Palestinians trapped in the coastal enclave.