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Al Mezan Issues Report on Health and Environmental Impacts of Fuel Crisis in the Gaza Strip

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fuel and electricity cuts which have been imposed by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). Despite their punitive, nondiscriminatory nature, these cuts were deemed permissible by the Israeli High Court at the beginning of 2008; thus, producing a profound impact on the Strip's water and sewage systems. Damage has been caused to civilians' health and food supplies due to the vegetable oil and cooking gas used as an alternative fuel for automobiles. The fuel crisis has created a transportation crisis, as most vehicles in Gaza have stopped.

The report indicates that as a result of the fuel crisis and electricity cuts an increased number of water wells have been forced to stop working. When the Strip's sole power plant cut production completely on 10 May 2008, ninety percent of water wells halted operations. Furthermore, electricity cuts forced the interruption of sewage treatment facilities. According to the Coastal Municipalities Water Facility (CMWF), they were forced to pump 68 million cubic liters of untreated sewage water into the Mediterranean Sea daily. Al Mezan warns in its report that the result of this crisis will lead to increased pollution to underground water.

The Center found that the use of vegetable oil in cars harms public health when cars are not equipped or modified to use it. It is noteworthy that there are doubts that vegetable oil may have carcinogenic effects on human health. It can also cause costly damage to vehicle's engines.

Al Mezan stresses that the ruling of the Israeli High Court to permit fuel cuts is a type of flagrant collective punishment of civilians that contradicts international law and international humanitarian law. The report therefore calls upon the international community to uphold its moral and legal duty to protect the Palestinian civilians under Israel's occupation by exerting pressure on Israel to abide by international law.