The Israeli authorities yesterday granted permission for all the components of a project to rehabilitate and expand the sewage-treatment plant in central Gaza. This means that the project planned with German funds can now be implemented.
Wastewater from hundreds of thousands of people living in the Gaza Strip has until now been flowing untreated into the sea. This affects Israeli as well as Palestinian coastal waters.
Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle welcomed the Israeli decision today (21 January):
“This project for the Central Gaza sewage-treatment plant represents a long-term investment which is essential if we are to improve standards of living for the people of Gaza.
Properly functioning infrastructure is one of the key issues in ensuring a better future in the Gaza Strip.
It is not only in the interests of the people living in the Gaza Strip but also in Israel’s interests to see this sewage-treatment project swiftly implemented.”
Work on the sewage-treatment plant constitutes one of the flagship projects of German development cooperation in the Gaza Strip. Foreign Minister Westerwelle and Development Minister Niebel have previously spoken in favour of Israeli authorization on a number of occasions.
The Federal Foreign Minister went to the plant on 8 November 2010 as part of his visit to Israel and the Gaza Strip, using the opportunity to call for easier export conditions.