A deal was brokered over the weekend that will allow a subsidiary of Israel Chemicals to sell water purification tablets that will be used to purify dirty water in Syria. Already a near-dry state, Syria’s drinking water supply has deteriorated sharply since the onset of a bloody war that has displaced and killed thousands of people. Special permission was required to broker the sale since the AquaTabs will be used in an enemy state, although the goods will not be sold directly from Israel to Syria.
The international aid organization UNICEF, which has stepped up its emergency response in Syria in advance of winter, will purchase the tablets from Medentech, a branch of the Israeli-owned company that is based in Ireland, according to Ynet.
The chlorine tablets are considered a better alternative to boiling water to remove contaminants since the latter method requires fuel that is not only scarce but also emits pollution into the atmosphere.
Israel’s Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz approved the contract because of the grave humanitarian situation that has been unfolding in Syria since May, 2011, although it was politically palatable to do so given that UNICEF is paying for and distributing the AquaTabs as a neutral third party.
Owned by Israel Corporation the company that is a major shareholder of the Better Place electric car venture, Israel Chemicals is a mining company that produces chemicals and fertilizers in addition to water purification systems. It is also one of the country’s biggest environmental offenders that was recently taken to account for the Dead Sea’s dangerously high water levels in the south caused in part by the extraction industry.
The firm is now redeeming itself by providing a much-needed service to the neighboring country, where children are hardest hit by the ceaseless violence.
“Around 1 million children are affected by the conflict inside Syria, and more than 100,000 Syrian children have been displaced to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq,” according to a recent press release.
“UNICEF is urgently scaling up its emergency response to reach hundreds of thousands of children with child protection, water, sanitation and hygiene, health and nutrition, and education initiatives. But a lack of funds is inhibiting what can be achieved. UNICEF has appealed for US$91m for its operations.”
Image of boy at drinking fountain, Shutterstock