Power hit in Gaza after lack of fuel payment to Egypt

Electricity authority accuses Palestinian Authority of blocking fuel payments to Egypt as power plants go offline.

    Egypt trucked 1 million litres of cheap diesel fuel to the Gaza Strip's sole power plant last month that temporarily eased a crippling electricity crisis [AP]
    Egypt trucked 1 million litres of cheap diesel fuel to the Gaza Strip's sole power plant last month that temporarily eased a crippling electricity crisis [AP]

    Power supplies have taken a fresh hit in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip with authorities accusing the rival Palestinian Authority of blocking fuel payments to Egypt from going through banks.

    The electricity authority said on Saturday two of the three generators at Gaza's only power plant were offline because "the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah stopped all the financial transactions through Palestinian banks to Egypt to buy fuel."

    "This led to the stopping of fuel (deliveries) two days ago from Egypt."

    A spokesman for the Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah, Tarek Rishmawi, told AFP news agency that "the main reason for the worsening situation in Gaza is Hamas, as they rejected the initiative of (Palestinian president) Mahmoud Abbas to end the split" between Palestinian factions.

    READ MORE: Egypt sends fuel tankers to Gaza to ease power crisis

    He did not confirm or deny the allegations of blocking fuel payments.

    The electricity distribution company confirmed only one generator was operating, producing 23 megawatts of power - which added to other sources means Gaza currently has a total of 93 megawatts a day.

    More than 500 megawatts are required to serve the Palestinian enclave's population.

    Abbas, who runs the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, has recently sought to squeeze his longtime rivals Hamas, who control Gaza.

    His government recently stopped paying for energy to Gaza, leading Israel to start reducing it.

    READ MORE: Gaza power crisis - 'We want to end this nightmare'

    The cut left the impoverished territory of more than two million people with as little as two hours of mains electricity a day.

    As an interim measure, Egypt stepped in to deliver fuel to Gaza's sole power plant, but that has now been threatened.

    The Egyptian deliveries came as part of improving relations between Cairo and Hamas.

    The Energy Authority in Gaza is paying Egypt for the fuel but must make transfers through Palestinian banks, which are based in the West Bank and under Palestinian Authority laws.

    SOURCE: News agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    John Pilger Q&A: 'US missiles are pointed at China'

    John Pilger Q&A: 'US missiles are pointed at China'

    Journalist John Pilger thinks the US and China might be on the path to war. "My film is a warning," he says.

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    No country in the world recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    Sadly but frankly, Donald Trump is not going anywhere

    Sadly but frankly, Donald Trump is not going anywhere

    Trump isn't going to be impeached by this or perhaps any future Congress as currently constituted.