(Discern Report)—According to two Israeli officials speaking to Axios, Israel has resumed the water supply to the southern Gaza Strip following intense pressure from the Biden administration. This decision is significant because Israel’s previous halt in water supply had worsened the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, with aid groups sounding the alarm about rapidly depleting water resources.
Israel had announced the cessation of all water supply to Gaza on the second day of the conflict, with the Israeli Minister of Energy, Israel Katz, stating that no water spigot would be opened until the release of the hostages held by Hamas.
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Behind the scenes, Israeli officials have revealed that the Biden administration has been urging the Israeli government, particularly in the last 48 hours, to resume the water supply, focusing on the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Against the backdrop of Israel’s expected ground offensive, Israel had advised over a million Palestinians in the northern region of the Strip to move southward to avoid harm. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have relocated to the south, further straining limited supplies and shelters.
According to Israeli officials, the Biden administration conveyed that it was not acceptable for Israel to instruct Palestinians to evacuate to the southern Gaza Strip without ensuring they have access to water. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan stated in an interview with CNN that his Israeli counterpart, Tzachi Hanegbi, had informed him on Sunday about Israel’s decision to resume the water supply to the southern Gaza Strip.