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The following quotes on the longer-term environmental impact of the ongoing, now-escalating, systemic destruction of the people and the land of Palestine are taken from the Jan. 13 article “The Poisoning of Gaza—From Above and Underground: How Israel’s war is making the strip increasingly unlivable for generations to come,” by journalist Joshua Frank. (Republished from Jan. 11 on TomDispatch as “The Killing of Gaza’s Environment Or How to Create an Unlivable Hellscape on One Strip of Land.”)

“Flooding tunnels with polluted groundwater ‘will cause an accumulation of salt and the collapse of the soil, leading to the demolition of thousands of Palestinian homes in the densely populated strip,’ says Abdel-Rahman al-Tamimi, director of the Palestinian Hydrologists Group, the largest NGO monitoring pollution in the Palestinian territories. His conclusion couldn’t be more stunning: ‘The Gaza Strip will become a depopulated area, and it will take about 100 years to get rid of the environmental effects of this war.’

“As if its indiscriminate bombing, which has already damaged or destroyed up to 70% of all homes in Gaza, weren’t enough, filling those tunnels with polluted water will ensure that some of the remaining residential buildings will suffer structural problems, too. And if the ground is weak and insecure, Palestinians will have trouble rebuilding. ‘It is important to keep in mind,’ warns Juliane Schillinger, a researcher at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, ‘that we are not just talking about water with a high salt content here—seawater along the Mediterranean coast is also polluted with untreated wastewater, which is continuously discharged into the Mediterranean from Gaza’s dysfunctional sewage system.’

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