Israel Accused of Destroying the Taste of Gazan Guavas

AP have released a video report on problems with Gaza’s guava growing (say that quickly ten times).

And while there is no English to be heard, the YouTube description contains a transcript.

Mawassi, southwest Gaza Strip – 6 September 2022

7. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Hamed Jobery, guava farmer: “The guava tree was affected in the Mawassi area, the coastal area alongside the sea. After that, we began getting away from the areas near the sea that were affected because of a lack of rainfall, a shortage of underground water in the wells as well as the salinity, and chloride levels.”

8. Jobery talking

9. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Hamed Jobery, guava farmer: “If we were allowed to export to the West Bank, for example, it will make a difference for us. If we sold the box for 70, 80, or 100 shekels (roughly $20-$30), this would be an improvement for me as a farmer. I can cultivate new land, I can hire more workers.”

10. Various of farmer carrying buckets of guavas to colleague who packs them in boxes

11. Various of man packing guava

12. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Mohamed al-Arja, agricultural engineer: “Climate change caused a radical change in many aspects of the agriculture process in terms of the time of yield. It has caused increases or decreases in rainfall levels. All of that has negatively affected the agricultural season generally. We are talking about a scarcity of rainfall and thus less rainwater fed to the aquifer. This has raised the salt levels because of over-pumping and the rise in numbers of wells. This certainly led to the increase in the salinity level and that has reflected not only on the guava, but on many other crops too.”

13. farmhand picking guava

14. Tilt-down farmhand putting few guavas in full bucket LEADIN: Guava farmers in the Mawassi area of the Gaza Strip say the fruit tastes less sweet compared to last season’s crop. The farmers say climate change and the Israeli blockade on the territory are affecting the flavor and health of their groves.

STORYLINE: The Mawassi area in the southwest corner of the Gaza Strip is famous for guava, a subtropical fruit that comes in yellow or green skin, and soft, juicy flesh.

This part of Gaza was known for its pure water and fertile fields.

The area stretches over the coastal aquifer, the main source of water for the 2.3 million residents of the Palestinian enclave.

But over the years, over-pumping and decreasing rainfalls have caused seawater to seep into the aquifer, contaminating it and raising salinity levels.

Farmer Hamed Jobery said the water from wells has been getting more and more saline.

As a result, groves have been planted farther and farther from the Mediterranean in a territory with little room for growth.

“We began getting away from the areas near the sea that were affected because of a lack of rainfall, a shortage of underground water in the wells as well as the salinity, and chloride levels,” he says.

Though grown and ripe, the fruit tasted less sweet this season, compared to previous years.

Farmers are blaming the saline water.

To prevent further damage, for now, the farmers demand that Israel allow their produce to be shipped to the occupied West Bank, which is separated from Gaza by Israeli territory.

“If we were allowed to export to the West Bank, for example, it will make a difference for us,” Jobery said. “If we sold the box for 70, 80, or 100 shekels (roughly $20-$30), this would be an improvement for me,” he added.

Note how AP quotes farmers who partially blame the so-called “Israeli blockade” for the downgrade in Guava flavor and health. Yet at the same time, others blame climate change and less rainfall, leading to over pumping and a rise in salt levels, a shortage of underground water in the wells, as well as the chloride levels, and seawater seeping into the aquifer.

Clearly, the “blockade” has nothing to do with it, yet not only do AP mention this allegation, they have used a title for the video that seems to imply this is the cause: Poor conditions change flavor of Gaza’s guava. When people hear about poor conditions in Gaza, they will invariably think of the so-called blockade, because that is what the mainstream media have been drumming into them.

This is indicative of the recent report on declining bee populations in Gaza, which mostly blamed Israel, despite evidence it was due to climate change and global warming. Which also seems to be the main culprit here.

Hat tip: Michal

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David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media