In The Boston Globe, Nov. 23, 2012.
Gaza’s economic decline is seen in the near collapse of its agricultural sector. One factor is the destruction of around 7,800 acres of agricultural land during Cast Lead. Consequently, approximately one-third of Gaza’s total arable land is out of production. Furthermore, Israeli-imposed buffer zones — areas of restricted access — now absorb nearly 14 percent of Gaza’s total land and at least 48 percent of total arable land...
Another critical constraint is water. Gaza’s aquifer has been ruined by prolonged over-pumping and sewage and contaminant infiltration...
Israel’s blockade policy restricts the entry of materials needed to repair, maintain, and upgrade Gaza’s sewage and wastewater treatment infrastructure. Save the Children reported in 2011 that Israeli airstrikes destroyed water and sanitation infrastructure valued at $1.3 million.
The impact on health is clear: Just under 10 percent of Gazan children under five suffered from chronic malnutrition in 2010. According to Save the Children, “Diseases of poverty and conflict combined with a degenerating health care system are claiming growing numbers of Gaza’s children.”
Birth defects, congenital anomalies, and cancer cases are reportedly rising. This is likely due to environmental contamination, including the possible use of toxic weaponry during Cast Lead. The current military assault will undoubtedly worsen environmental conditions.