Whenever I try to mouth these words [of reassurance for Israel], a remembered smell fills my nostrils. It is the smell of shit.
Across the occupied West Bank, raw untreated sewage is pumped every day out of the Jewish settlements, along large metal pipes, straight onto Palestinian land. From there, it can enter the groundwater and the reservoirs, and become a poison.
Standing near one of these long, stinking brown-and-yellow rivers of waste recently, the local chief medical officer, Dr Bassam Said Nadi, explained to me: "Recently there were very heavy rains, and the shit started to flow into the reservoir that provides water for this whole area. I knew that if we didn't act, people would die. We had to alert everyone not to drink the water for over a week, and distribute bottles. We were lucky it was spotted. Next time..." He shook his head in fear. This is no freak: a 2004 report by Friends of the Earth found that only six per cent of Israeli settlements adequately treat their sewage.
Well, Herr Johann, who's in the shit now?
Gaza sewage pumped into the sea over past three months
Millions of liters of sewage have been released over the past three months into the Mediterranean Sea from the Gaza Strip, according to a new United Nations report.
According to the report, an estimated 50-60 million liters of waste have been pumped into the sea. This was done in an effort to prevent an overflow of sewage in residential areas.
The report prepared by Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) raises concerns that the untreated sewage is carrying Escherichia coli (e. coli) bacteria into the sea which may affect those swimming in its waters.
E. coli bacteria can cause infection in the urinary tract and the digestive system.
The authors of the report also wrote that in areas where the sewage is pumped into the sea, the color of the water is dark brown and a strong odor emanates.
Fishermen in Gaza bay claim the sewage has killed much of the fish in the area.
Officials in the Gaza Strip said there were also concerns that the pumping station in the Zeitun area would not be able to handle the sewage that had accumulated and the treatment pools would overflow.