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February 15, 2012 1:09 pm

Power Plant Problems in Gaza Stem From Egypt Fuel Shortage

avatar by Zachary Lichaa

Smuggling tunnel near Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza. Photo: wiki commons.

The only power plant operating in Gaza, the Palestinian controlled territory run by Hamas, is being forced to ration power due to a lack of the necessary fuel needed to make the plant operational.

“We are sorry to announce that we are unable to provide hospitals, education premises, water pumps and waste water facilities and all other fields of life with the enough quantities of electricity,” said Abu Al-Amrain, information director at the Energy Authority.

The Egypt Times reports that the main catalyst for the current supply shortage is the crackdown of  fuel entering Gaza from Egypt.  Due to Egypt’s domestic fuel crisis, only about half of the necessary fuel scheduled to come in from Egypt over the weekend, arrived in Gaza.

35% of Gaza’s energy needs are met by Israeli supplies, according a Gaza Energy Authority official, but the rest of the needed supply is not currently coming in via smuggling tunnels from Egypt.  A report in Maan News says that under normal conditions, trucks stop at the Egypt-Gaza border and transport the fuel into Gaza via underground tunnels.

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“For nearly two weeks, Gaza has been undergoing a worsening fuel crisis caused by a halt in supplies smuggled through underground tunnels traversing its border with Egypt. The conundrum has rendered 90 percent of local oil stations idle,” writes Egypt Independent.

Gaza Energy officials have also placed blame on Israel for the fuel shortage, but in a statement to the Elder of Ziyon website, the Israel Defense Forces said:

The decision to buy heavy-duty diesel from Egypt and not Israel was made by Hamas.  Over the last year, the government in Gaza has gradually stopped buying diesel from Israel and increased its purchases from Egypt. This is also the source of the recent power problems in the Strip, including the local power plant shutting down.

There is no Israeli decision to purposefully stop selling diesel to Gaza; the decision came from the Hamas, and again, the situation isn’t black and white–if you look at previous reports from the last months, there are still small amounts of diesel entering Gaza from Israel. If and when the demand returns, Israel is fully willing to supply, as it did in the past.

For your viewing, The Algemeiner has placed a chart of goods that entered Gaza from Israel, during the week of February 5-February11.

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