“The story began circulating over the weekend, and by Monday several large media outlets, including the Daily Mail and Agence France – Presse, had published stories alleging that Israel had opened a series of dams, leading to flooding across the central Gaza Strip.
“In Gaza, the story of the dams has long been circulated as an explanation for why the central Gaza Strip floods during the winter. One Palestinian official, who spoke to BuzzFeed on condition of anonymity, said the rumor could be traced back more than a decade.
““It is easy to say it is dams, easier than saying that the problem is infrastructure – not having infrastructure, having bad infrastructure, having what little infrastructure Gaza destroyed each time there is way – that is the truth,” said the official, who spoke by phone from Gaza.
“He asked to remain anonymous as his statements did not coincide with those made by Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. “If we could rebuild Gaza, we could build a system that deals with these horrible floods. But Gaza is in ruins, there is nowhere for the water to go, and each year it will be the same unless someone helps us.”
“At least 80 Palestinian families were evacuated this week after water levels in the Gaza Valley (Wadi Gaza) rose to almost three meters. The original AFP story quoted Gaza’s Ministry of Interior, which claimed, “By [Israel] opening the channels they flooded many homes…We had to evacuate as quickly as possible.”
“Following last summer’s war, several human rights groups said that Gaza was “on the brink of collapse.” Power outages and sewage floods have long plagued the Gaza Strip, with health care workers reporting an increase in diseases due to untreated sewage finding its way into Gaza’s aquifers.
“On the other hand, the only problem is – there are no dams around the Gaza Strip. In fact, a spokesperson for Israel’s coordination office for the Palestinian territories said: “There are no dams in the southern Israel. This is a false story that circulates every winter. There are flash floods across southern Israel, but there are simply no dams in southern Israel. This is a lie.”
He also added: “But, after a while, you get used to these kind of stories being made up about you. To be honest, I’m surprised you didn’t hear that we burned innocent Palestinians with lightning from our a*ses right after we brought back Elvis.”