Oct 15, 2023 - World

Israel resumes water supply to southern Gaza after U.S. pressure

The Biden administration told Israel that it couldn't tell Palestinians to evacuate to the Southern Gaza Strip without allowing them to have water, the officials said.

Palestinians queue to refill on water in Rafah refugee camp in the southern of Gaza Strip. Photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images

Israel resumed on Sunday the water supply to the southern Gaza Strip after strong pressure from the Biden administration, two Israeli officials told Axios.

Why it matters: Israel's decision to completely stop the water supply to Gaza exacerbated the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, with aid groups warning water supplies were quickly running out.

  • Israel announced on the second day of the war that it was stopping all of the water supply to Gaza. Israeli Minister of Energy Israel Katz had said that "no water spigot will be opened" until the hostages Hamas is holding were freed.

Behind the scenes: Israeli officials say the Biden administration pressed the Israeli government in the last 48 hours to resume the water supply, especially to the southern part of the Gaza Strip

  • Israel has told more than 1 million Palestinians to evacuate the northern part of the Strip to the south to avoid being harmed by Israel's expected ground offensive.
  • Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have since moved to the south, putting more pressure on limited supplies and shelters.
  • The Biden administration told Israel that it couldn't tell Palestinians to evacuate to the southern Gaza Strip without allowing them to have water, the Israeli officials said.

What they're saying: White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN on Sunday that his Israeli counterpart Tzachi Hanegbi informed him of the Israeli decision to resume water supply to the southern Gaza Strip.

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