Wide areas in the Gaza Strip plunged into darkness Sunday evening, as a local power plant was forced to shut down its turbines after Israel stopped fuel supply into the Strip. Many Gazans now fear that a massive humanitarian crisis is imminent, despite Israel's claims that 70% of power supply is still provided by an Israeli plant.
Hospitals in the Strip have already announced the cancellation of all operations scheduled for the coming days. Health officials are worried that electrical medical equipment, such as dialysis machines and respirators, would collapse. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 10 minutes without electricity could lead to the death of dozens of patients.
Gaza in the dark Sunday evening (Photo: Reuters)
Gaza residents are also concerned about a sanitation crisis should sewage pumps stop working. Furthermore, some sources in the Strip estimated that most factories would begin shutting down operations as of tomorrow (Monday).
UNRWA also concerned
Thousands of Gazans were set to participate in a "candle rally" Sunday evening, and take to the streets with candles in their hands in protest of the power outage. Media outlets in the Strip, especially those affiliated with Hamas, have been urging international organizations and the Arab world to intervene throughout the day.
The United National Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) recently announced that humanitarian aid has not been permitted into the Gaza Strip since the crossings have been closed.
"It (the power plant shutdown) is going to have a significant impact on the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza," said Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the UNRWA, whose aid shipments have been turned back.
Israel's sanctions 'strengthen Hamas'"The power outage in Gaza will not hurt Hamas, on the contrary – it will strengthen the Islamic organizations, so that even secular Palestinians, who used to support Fatah, will sympathize with Hamas," Youssef Khatib, a clerk from the Khan Younis area, told Ynet.
"Israel's collective punishment policy would not lead to results. I am not a Hamas man, but I tell my children that the blackout is the result of Israel's war against us," he added.
According to Khatib, Israel's sanctions worked to heighten solidarity among the Palestinians. "The Palestinian people unite in theses tough moments. Although the internal strife in Gaza exists, mutual help is increasing."