Gaza faces another power crisis

Is Gaza facing another crisis following the lack of funds to pay for power?

The Gaza Strip is bracing for a severe energy crisis after donor funds from Qatar and Turkey, used to purchase diesel fuel for Gaza’s power plant, have run out.

The Hamas-controlled energy authority in Gaza said it lacks funds to buy more diesel fuel and pay the requisite taxes levied by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah.

IDF Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, head of Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) unit, warned that fuel for the power station in Gaza would likely run out very soon. The Hamas-run health ministry said Gaza residents’ lives are in danger due to power outages set in an attempt to conserve fuel.

In January 2017, Turkey pledged to send 15,000 tons of diesel fuel to Gaza to operate the power station. Qatar’s head of state, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, met with Hamas’s then-political bureau deputy chief Ismail Haniyeh and promised to transfer $12 million to the Palestinian Energy Authority in Ramallah to purchase the large quantities of diesel fuel needed to run the Gaza power station.

In the past, extended power outages have sparked public outcry in Gaza. Much of the blame for the energy crisis is aimed at the PA, though Hamas is also criticized. Demonstrations in Gaza against Hamas are outlawed by the terrorist organization.

Beyond the one power plant, Gaza’s two million residents rely on Israeli and Egyptian electricity imports.

Robert Piper, the United Nations (UN) coordinator for humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, says Gaza’s latest electricity crisis could be “the tipping point” that makes the Strip unlivable.

“The UN has been warning for some years that the chronic problems of Gaza are accumulating to the extent that we may be approaching a tipping point,” he stated.

Piper spoke after lack of fund forced the Gaza power plant to close on Sunday. Gaza now operates on four hours of electricity a day, down from eight.

By: JNS.org and World Israel News Staff