Following PA request, Israel restores power to Gaza

Following a request by the Palestinian Authority, Israel is increasing the power flow to Hamas-ruled Gaza.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz has ordered the Israel Electric Corporation to restore electricity to the Gaza Strip. Israel had minimized the power flow in June, in compliance with the Palestinian Authority (PA) government in Ramallah.

Following a new PA request, Gaza’s electricity will now be returned to 120 megawatts, as it was prior to June, the IDF’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) stated Monday.

“Israel is motivated by purely humanitarian reasons when it comes to this issue, and will thus reinstate the electric supply previously provided,” COGAT said.

COGAT is the IDF unit responsible for implementing government policy in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

Last summer, the Palestinian government asked Israel to cut the electricity as a way to pressure Hamas. The Islamic terror group seized power in Gaza in 2007 after driving out forces loyal to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Amid a Palestinian reconciliation process, Abbas’ government said last week it would restore the electric supply.

The cutoff left the coastal territory with just four hours of power a day, and blackouts have worsened over the winter.

Hamas has denounced the power cuts as collective punishment.

‘Humanitarianism and humanity must be mutual’

Humanitarian issues are not one-sided, COGAT noted. The bodies of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul are being held captive in the Gaza Strip by Hamas, a clear violation of human rights.

Over a year ago, the Israeli cabinet approved in principle an additional 100 megawatts to the Gaza Strip, in addition to the current 120 megawatts already supplied. However, “The State of Israel will not act and will not finalize the additional 100 megawatts of electricity before humanitarian issues such as the return of the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul and the return of additional Israeli citizens held in Gaza are discussed,” COGAT stated.

Leah Goldin, Hadar’s mother, addressed the people of Gaza directly, calling on “mothers, fathers and children: the kidnapping of bodies is unacceptable and inhuman.”

“Every mother wants to visit her son’s grave and the inability to return Hadar for his burial is considered a crime in Islam,” Goldin added.

“The cynical use of corpses contradicts the human conscience. Do not be held hostage by the terrorist organization Hamas. Humanitarianism and humanity must be mutual,” she said.

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AP contributed to this report.