Following the PA’s request, Israel has begun to reduce the power supply to Gaza.
Acting on the behest of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Israel’s electric company cut back its supply of power to the Gaza Strip, a step taken to put pressure on the Hamas terror group, which controls the seaside territory.
The company confirmed that it began reducing the supply on Monday, as instructed by the Israeli government at the request of the PA. The electricity will be scaled back gradually, “so that the electricity supply will match the financial commitment.”
PA President Mahmoud Abbas recently told Israel he would cut payments for Gaza’s electricity. Hamas seized Gaza from Abbas’ forces a decade ago, and the PA leader is trying to step up pressure on the Islamic terror group to cede power.
With Gaza’s small power plant out of commission because Hamas does not allocate funds to buy fuel, and with Israel providing only a part of what Gaza needs, residents have been scraping by with about four hours of electricity a day.
Mohammed Thabet of the Gaza electricity distribution company said the Strip’s roughly two million residents could expect to receive even less power.
While Hamas has sworn to annihilate the Jewish state and invests most of its resources towards that objective, Israel has continued to provide limited power to Gaza, paid for by the Palestinians, in order to prevent a humanitarian crisis on its doorstep and assuming that more instability could lead to renewed attacks on Israel by Hamas.
Last week, Hamas threatened to renew violence against Israel if power is cut.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists that Gaza’s power crisis as an internal Palestinian issue, saying that Israel is merely a supplier.
“The internal deliveries of electricity to consumers inside the Gaza Strip is not the responsibility of the electric company and is done by internal Palestinian authorities in the Gaza Strip,” Israel’s electric company stated.
Israel accuses Hamas of diverting Gaza’s limited electricity for military use and worsening the hardship on its people.
Major General Yoav Mordechai, head of the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), said last month that Israel could be forced to cut electricity to the Gaza Strip. “The reason is that Hamas prefers to use the money for digging tunnels…and the people get only what is left over from that,” he said.
“Israel today is the only one supplying electricity to the Gaza Strip, but unfortunately, there are problems between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the PA in Ramallah, which caused the PA to decide not to pay for the electricity,” Mordechai noted.
“If the electricity is going for tunnels and Fathi Hamad, a Hamas leader who has four wives, three homes, and electricity 24 hours a day, and two million Palestinians have electricity for four hours a day, does that make any sense?” he asked. “Those are Hamas’ priorities with the people.”
This development is the latest phase in an ongoing power struggle between the rival Palestinian factions. As is often the case, the struggle comes at the expense of the locals.
By: AP and world Israel News Staff