Will Los Angeles Times Substantiate Dubious Charge About Reduced Water Flow Into Gaza?

CAMERA has contacted The Los Angeles Times to request substantiation or correction of the dubious charge that water flow into Gaza is facing increasing restriction. In an April 6 article, Noga Tarnopolsky and Rushdi Abu Alouf claimed (“Death toll rises to 8 as Palestinians rally along Gaza-Israel border“):

For Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by the United States, Europeand Israel, the rallies are an attempt to show force in the face of increasingly dire punitive measures exacted against it by the Palestinian Authority, such as severe restrictions on the flow of potable water and electricity into the strip, and what it perceives to be the apathy of the Arab leadership. (Emphasis added.)

The Palestinian Authority does not provide the Gaza Strip directly with either water or electricity. It does, however, pay Israel to provide electricity to Gaza. It has been widely reported that due to the conflict between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the PA cut off its electricity payments to Israel, and Israel has, as a result, cut back on the amount of electricity it provides the Gaza Strip.

As The Los Angeles Times itself reported in February, Hamas-PA discord has resulted in cuts in electricity: “In June, as a punitive measure against Hamas, the Palestinian Authority stopped paying Israel to supply Gaza with electricity, causing the drastic reduction in power.” (See here for the corrections that CAMERA prompted on this Times story.)

For good reason though, Ann Simmons’ February story does not note punitive measures affecting the flow of water into Gaza. While the Gaza Strip suffers from a severe water shortage, this is not due to any decrease in the amount of water flowing into Gaza, but rather due to a polluted aquifer and the energy shortfalls required to treat the water from subterranean Gaza, along with inadequate infrastructure.

Other sources reported the PA punitive measures with respect to patient permits, medical spending and salaries.

CAMERA could not locate any source which suggests that the Palestinian Authority has imposed cuts in the amount of potable water flowing to Israel in response to tension with Hamas. Indeed, potable water flows to Gaza from Israel, and Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, COGAT has confirmed to CAMERA:

The State of Israel provides 10 Mcm of water to Gaza. In addition, in accordance with the Red Dead agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and engaged in the supply of water from Israel to the Palestinian Authority, Israel is prepared to supply another 10 million cubic meters of water to Gaza, but this is not possible due to the lack of infrastructure on the Palestinian side.

Moreover, COGAT noted that the amount of water that flows from Israel to Gaza has increased in recent years, stating: “From 2005 to 2014 the state of Israel provided 5Mcm of water every year to Gaza. Since 2015, the supply of water from Israel to Gaza is 10Mcm per year.”

CAMERA continues to urge The Times to either substantiate or retract the claim that the Gaza Strip is facing increased restrictions on the flow of water into the territory. Meanwhile, the paper continues its email campaign promising readers accuracy, quality journalism and truth.