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Blackout in Gaza Photo: AFP
Blackout in Gaza Photo: AFP
 
 

Energy crisis in Gaza Strip deepens

Egypt stops smuggling of fuel into Gaza Strip resulting in semi-shutdown of Gaza power station. Palestinians refuse Israeli oil deal offer

Elior Levy
Published: 02.18.12, 22:49 / Israel News

Gaza is suffering a major energy crisis. Since Tuesday and in the midst of plummeting temperatures Gaza's power station has been operating for only several hours a day, as locals are subjected to power cuts lasting as many as 12 hours a day.

 

Israel has recently approached senior officials in the Palestinian Authority offering to sell the PA enough diesel oil to keep the power plant operating, but the Palestinians are refusing, Ynet learned.

 

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The Gaza Strip is entirely dependant on the oil-fired power station. Egypt has recently closed smuggling tunnels through which fuel was smuggled into the Strip.

 

Until 2010, the Palestinian Authority purchased diesel oil from Israel through a deal with Dor Alon paid for by the European Union. Ramallah and Gaza began fighting on energy supply after Europe stopped its funding of the deal.

 

Palestinian sources are pointing to three explanations for the cessation of fuel supply: Recent attacks by Bedouin tribes and terror cells against Egyptian elements; Egypt's desire to increase profits on fuel; and an attempt by Cairo to signal to Hamas to accept Mahmoud Abbas as head of the provisional Palestinian government. They explained that Cairo knew what points in Gaza to pressure when dissatisfied with Hamas' conduct.

 

Meanwhile, reports suggesting that the energy crisis is a sham are starting to surface in Gaza. Khalil Abu Shamala, director of the Addameer Center for Human Rights said that Gaza has enough diesel oil to operate the power station and that a large amount of fuel was transferred into the Strip earlier this week. Gaza's energy authority denied the claims.

 

 

 

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