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January 16, 2017 10:10 am

Gaza Residents Angered by Hamas’ Failure to Address Energy Crisis

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Palestinians protest against a previous energy crisis in Gaza Jan. 12, 2015. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.

Palestinians protest against a previous energy crisis in Gaza Jan. 12, 2015. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.

JNS.org — Residents of the Gaza Strip are angered by the failure of Hamas, the terror group that governs the enclave, to address the area’s severe energy crisis.

Power shortage has left Gaza residents with only three to four hours of electricity per day and has sparked rare internal Palestinian criticism of Hamas, including protests and, most recently, a suicide attempt. Gaza civilian Islam al-Maqusi, 20, doused himself in gasoline and set himself on fire Monday in the al-Bureij refugee camp, the Times of Israel reported. Police believe al-Maqusi, who was hospitalized, committed the act in protest of the Hamas leadership.

Neighboring Arab countries have offered assistance, with Qatar promising $12 million in fuel during the next three months, and Turkey also making commitments to provide emergency reserves, leading Gaza’s electricity authority to announce Monday that it would restore power to households for eight hours per day.

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Israel’s Electric Corporation sells power to the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA), which in turn distributes fuel to Gaza-based Hamas in exchange for reimbursement.

Gaza residents have accused Hamas of extortive tax hikes, making the residents unable to pay their taxes or electricity bills and Hamas unable to reimburse PA for fuel. Despite the pledged assistance from Arab countries, more Palestinian civilian protests against Hamas are planned for this week.

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