Protests erupt in Gaza as electricity crisis deepens

In many areas, Palestinians received only three hours of electricity at a time, punctuated by 12-hour blackouts.

| | Human Rights, Gaza, Palestine, Middle East

Gaza Strip - Anger is growing among Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip as the narrow coastal enclave's electricity crisis deepens. 

An estimated 10,000 Palestinians flooded the streets in Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza last week, after more than a week of lengthy power cuts. In many parts of Gaza, residents received only three hours of electricity at a time, punctuated by 12-hour blackouts. 

Protesters expressed anger at Israel's blockade, and at the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority and Hamas authorities in Gaza. Demanding a solution to the power cuts, some demonstrators clashed with security forces. 

Speaking to local media on Monday, Gaza's Interior Ministry spokesman Iyad al-Buzm said that protesters arrested for "creating chaos" had been released after an agreement between various political factions. 

READ MORE: Palestinian factions trade blame for electricity crisis after Gaza children burn to death

Nearly two million Palestinians in Gaza have endured electricity shortages since Israel, with the help of Egypt, imposed a suffocating blockade on the territory a decade ago. 

The electricity crisis has been exacerbated since Israel's 51-day war on Gaza in 2014, during which the main power plant was targeted and damaged by Israeli forces. 

On Monday, Thafer Melhem, the deputy chief of the Gaza Power Authority, announced that the first part of a $12m donation from Qatar had reached the territory and would allow a return to eight-hour cuts after eight-hour intervals of electricity. 

The Palestinian Authority's prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, has also said that Turkey would donate 15 tonnes of fuel to the Gaza Strip, adding that an official agreement would be signed in the coming days. 

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