Egypt begins delivery of one million liters of fuel to Gaza

June 21, 2017 10:30 pm

Palestinian security forces (R & L) and an Egyptian border guard (C) stand as Egyptian trucks carrying fuel enter the southern Strip from through the Rafah border crossing, June 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Egypt has begun the delivery of one million liters of fuel to the besieged Gaza Strip in an attempt to ease the electricity crisis in the Palestinian territory.
Sources at the Rafah crossing said on Wednesday that eight shipments had entered Gaza, with 14 expected later in the day.
One million liters, which is 220,000 gallons, of fuel were expected to be delivered on Wednesday.
The fuel will be routed to the only power station in Gaza, which has been closed since April due to fuel shortages.
Samir Moutair, the director general of the Gaza electricity company, said new deliveries would enable the power station to operate for two to three days.
On Monday, Israel began reducing its electricity supplies to Gaza. More than a week ago, Tel Aviv announced its controversial decision to further pressure the impoverished Palestinian territory.
On June 11, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet gave the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) the green light to implement the controversial cut, a step that is expected to further deteriorate the power crunch plaguing the seaside Palestinian territory, run by the resistance movement Hamas.
Israel’s decision was reportedly made after the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, slashed its monthly payments for the power supplies to Gaza by 30 percent. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas are at loggerheads, and Abbas’ decision is considered as indirect pressure on Hamas to relinquish the control of Gaza.
Electricity supply is a major concern in the hot and cramped territory, which is currently marking the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Palestinians in Gaza currently receive only three or four hours of electricity a day. The electricity is delivered from the territory’s own power station and others in Israel and Egypt.
Residents who can afford electricity use generators to power their homes or businesses in the impoverished Palestinian enclave of some two million people.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) earlier warned of a looming humanitarian crisis due to prolonged power outages in Gaza.
Amnesty International also warned in a statement on Wednesday that the power cut would lead to a “looming humanitarian catastrophe.”

The photo taken on June 13, 2017, shows Palestinian children at home reading books by candle light due to electricity shortages in Gaza City. (Photo by AFP)

On Monday, Israeli human rights group Gisha said in a statement that by reducing supplies “Israel is knowingly aggravating an already dangerous situation in which the strip is teetering on the verge of a humanitarian crisis.”
Gaza has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty.
Israel has also launched several wars on the Palestinian sliver, the last of which began in early July 2014. The Israeli war, which ended on August 26, 2014, killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians.
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