For the past nine months, the Israeli army has been relentlessly attacking the Gaza Strip, with no hope of achieving the two objectives set by Benjamin Netanyahu. These objectives were the « total victory » against Hamas and the release of hostages captured on October 7, 2023. The ongoing Israeli bombings pose a serious danger to the 116 hostages still alive. Despite the losses suffered by the Islamist militia, they have been offset by new recruits seeking revenge for their loved ones killed in the Israeli airstrikes.

The death toll in this uncontrolled war continues to rise in Gaza, with over 38,000 people killed, representing one in every sixty residents. This staggering number of deaths could double or triple due to the devastating combination of hunger and epidemics. The humanitarian emergency at hand should not overshadow the medium and long-term impact of the ongoing hostilities on the environment in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza, a territory with a population density comparable to Hong Kong, was already facing significant pressure on natural resources exacerbated by the Israeli blockade since 2007. Despite efforts to switch to solar energy and implement photovoltaic installations in schools and hospitals, the recent bombings have destroyed over half of the water supply and wastewater management infrastructures.

According to the UN, the water access per person per day has dropped to a few liters compared to 85 liters before the conflict began. The wadi Gaza, the largest wetland in Palestine, has been devastated, compromising the entire ecosystem it supported. More than half of arable land and a third of greenhouses have been affected by Israeli army strikes, leading to the complete or partial destruction.

Furthermore, two-thirds of livestock have perished in the bombings or were preemptively slaughtered, hindering their replenishment. The livestock feed has become a default food supplement for the hungry population. The ecological destruction caused by the Gaza war will have long-lasting consequences on the environment, making the region largely uninhabitable.

The international community must address the ecological disaster unfolding in Gaza and work towards solutions that prioritize environmental restoration and sustainability. Immediate actions are needed to provide aid, rebuild infrastructure, and support the local population in recovering from the devastation caused by the conflict. Efforts to restore the water supply, rehabilitate the wetlands, and promote sustainable agriculture will be crucial in mitigating the long-term environmental impact of the war.

It is essential for governments, humanitarian organizations, and environmental agencies to collaborate in addressing the ecological crisis in Gaza and ensure that the region can recover and thrive in the aftermath of the conflict. By prioritizing environmental protection and sustainability in post-conflict reconstruction efforts, we can begin to heal the land and provide a better future for the people of Gaza.