[QODLink]
Middle East
Hamas reaches deal to end Gaza fuel crisis
New agreement allows coastal strip's rulers to send diesel payments to Israel via Palestinian Authority officials.
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2012 20:30
Palestinians wait to fill containers with fuel at a petrol station in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip [Reuters]

The Gaza Strip's Hamas government and its rival Palestinian Authority have agreed to an Egypt-brokered deal to end a fuel crisis that has caused daily power cuts in the territory, officials have said.
 
Under the agreement reached on Tuesday, an Israeli company will supply industrial diesel for the Gaza Strip's only power plant and a temporary mechanism will be put in place whereby Hamas can pay the bill without dealing directly with its enemy Israel.
 
"The Hamas authorities in Gaza will pay the money ... to the PA [Palestinian Authority] and the PA will take care of the payment to the Israeli side," said the official, who asked not to be identified.
 
Taher al-Nono, spokesman of the Hamas government in Gaza, said fuel would begin flowing on Wednesday. A first payment of two million Israeli shekels [$539,000] had already been transferred to the PA, he said.

Major power blackouts have plagued the Gaza Strip, disrupting the lives of many of its 1.7 million inhabitants, since February when neighbouring Egypt cracked down on fuel smuggling into the enclave.

Gaza grid

Hamas accused Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority of causing the crisis in the hope of winning political concessions from the group, which has opposed US-backed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Officials from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement have accused Hamas of pouring revenues from smuggled fuel into the movement's coffers.

The Palestinian Authority, led by Abbas, lost control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 in a brief civil war between Hamas and Fatah. The PA exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The fuel crisis, which left Gaza residents with power only six hours a day and disrupted transportation, stirred public criticism of Hamas.

Ghassan al-Khatib, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, confirmed receipt of the first fuel payment, calling the deal a temporary arrangement until a long-term supply arrangement is reached with Egypt.

Gaza's power plant provides electricity to two-thirds of its population. Power is also supplied to the Gaza grid through power lines from Israel and Egypt.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.