Israel wants flooding of Hamas-controlled tunnels in Gaza

Izrael chce zalania tuneli kontrolowanych przez Hamas w Gazie

Israel, in response to the ongoing activities of Hamas, has developed a strategy to bring about significant changes in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A key element of this plan is Hamas’ tunnels under the Gaza Strip and their flooding with water from the Mediterranean Sea. The Israel Defense Forces have already conducted some preliminary tests in early December this year. Flooding the tunnels is one method to prevent their further use.

Israel’s secret operation

The Israel Defense Forces have taken steps to inject seawater into an extensive network of Hamas-controlled tunnels. In the Al-Shati refugee camp area of Gaza, two more pumps were added to the existing five installed in November this year, allowing for a series of preliminary tests. Responding to inquiries about these operations, the Israeli Defense Ministry did not give an official comment, while not denying the ongoing operations. A Defense Ministry spokesman limited himself to stating that: “The tunnel operations are secret.”

For Israel, eliminating the network of tunnels under the Gaza Strip is a priority, and the country continues to study various methods to achieve this goal. The pumps, set up more than a kilometer north of the Al-Shati refugee camp, have the capacity to pump thousands of cubic meters of water per hour, flooding Hamas tunnels within weeks. This plan, developed in response to Hamas’ use of the tunnel system for terrorist activities, aims to prevent further use. It should be remembered, however, that flooding the tunnels is not just about fighting Hamas, and risks serious consequences for Gaza’s infrastructure and access to fresh water.

Impacts on infrastructure and civilians

There is no official information on what the long-term ecological and humanitarian effects of such an operation might be. Experts, however, warn that Gaza’s groundwater is so heavily drained that an Israeli attempt to “flush the terrorists” out of the tunnels could irretrievably destroy them, and this would jeopardize access to fresh water, which is crucial to the lives of the residents. According to the Palestinian Hydrologists Group, the largest NGO that monitors pollution in the Palestinian territories, Israel’s pumping of seawater into Gaza’s network of underground tunnels will make the Palestinian enclave uninhabitable for up to 100 years.

Experts point to another risk associated with Israel’s actions, which could cause significant damage to Gaza’s infrastructure, including the potential demolition of thousands of Palestinian homes in the densely populated area. The flooding of Hamas-controlled tunnels could add to the already existing humanitarian crisis in the region.

Israel, faced with the challenge of combating terrorist threats, is in a situation where it must consider the long-term consequences of its actions, especially those affecting the people in Gaza. In addition to the immediate consequences of military intervention, there is also the risk of long-term social and economic consequences that could affect stability and security throughout the region.

Is flooding the tunnels one way to combat terrorism?

Flooding the tunnels with water from the Mediterranean Sea is one of several techniques used by Israel to disable them. This step, which is in the early stages of implementation, underscores Israel’s determination to fight Hamas. Hamas tunnels in the Gaza Strip are a key tactical element, enabling it to smuggle weapons or carry out attacks. Israel’s destruction of these tunnels could significantly reduce Hamas’ operational capabilities.

The idea of flooding Hamas tunnels is not new. In 2015. Egypt, in response to Hamas’ actions with ISIS in Sinai, has decided to flood parts of the tunnels under the Gaza-Sinai border fence. This came despite complaints from local farmers about crop damage. At that time the situation was not as serious as it is now, flooding of the tunnels means irreparable damage. The world is watching the situation unfold, hoping to find a lasting different solution to ensure peace and stability in the region.

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