FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 13, 2017??
Karina Erickson, 202-225-6565, Karine.Erickson@mail.house.gov
Nicole L’Esperance, 202-225-4811, Nicole.LEsperance@mail.house.gov
Washington, DC – Today, Ted Poe (TX-02) and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) welcomed news that Israel and the Palestinians have reached an agreement to provide much-needed drinking water to severely water-stressed Palestinian communities, especially to those in Gaza.
In May, Poe and Blumenauer led a bipartisan group of members in urging the Trump administration to prioritize the issue of water in its effort to build peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Access to water is a critical national security issue. Poor infrastructure and political instability continue to hinder safe access to water and sanitation in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Currently, 97 percent of the water is not safe for human consumption, and its quality is getting worse.
“Water is a basic necessity for us all, and an issue of mutual interest among people on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” said Congressman Poe. “Today, we learned that such a deal has indeed been reached, which not only addresses the vital issue of access to water but could also represent a crucial confidence building measure between two adversaries. It is my sincere hope that this cooperative step will mark a new mutually beneficial chapter in the bloody history of the Holy Land.”
“We’ve worked on this issue for years now, and it’s gratifying to see a tangible expression of what’s possible. While the agreement is modest in terms of the overall need, the cooperation is significant,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “The health and security implications of unsafe water and non-existent sanitation are a threat not just to people in Gaza, but to those in Israel. We hope this issue will receive the priority that it needs and that the United States builds on its successful participation.”
“Bipartisan congressional leadership led by Congressmen Poe and Blumenauer that called on the Trump Administration to move quickly on water issues today bore fruit,” said Gidon Bromberg, Israeli co-Director EcoPeace Middle East. “The water now to flow into Gaza is the most critical and shows clearly that greater efforts need to be made on electricity supply to Gaza.”