Egypt Sends Fuel to Power Gaza amid Electricity Crisis

Frederick Owens
June 22, 2017

A Palestinian man walks as fuel tankers enter Gaza's power plant through the Rafah border between Egypt and southern Gaza Strip June 21, 2017.

Egypt has supplied the Gaza Strip with 1 million liters (220,000 gallons) of diesel fuel to address a growing electricity crisis amid a dispute between the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Gaza-ruling terror group Hamas.

"Our relationship with Egypt is getting better and Egypt showed high understandings of the crisis in Gaza", said Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas official, according to The Associated Press.

Last week, a senior Hamas security delegation ended a nine-day visit to Egypt, where Hamas leaders held talks with senior Egyptian officers and discussed the current humanitarian situation in the coastal enclave.

Two days ago, Israel began reducing its electricity supplies to Gaza, following Abbas's decision to stop paying for them.

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Abbas's decision to cut funding came amid a persistent rift with rival Palestinian movement Hamas, which runs Gaza. "This Egyptian support in Gaza is part of what was agreed at the Cairo meetings", General Tawfiq Abu Naim, head of security in Gaza, told a news conference in Rafah yesterday.

Gaza-based energy authority clarified that it has paid for the Egyptian side for this load of fuel for approximately two million US dollars.

The fuel delivered by Cairo will enable the only existing electricity generating plant in Gaza to function, at least partially, as the Israeli aggression of the summer of 2014 seriously damaged it. Since April 2016, the population of the Gaza Strip, of about 2 million people, suffers from daily blackouts that sometimes leave them give them four hours of electricity a day.

Residents of impoverished Gaza - where two million people live fenced in between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean - were already receiving only a few hours of mains power before this week. This electricity, paid for by the Abbas government, has been reduced by one-fourth since Monday.

Hamas, which swept Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006 but remains blacklisted as a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States, has fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

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