Israel started to reduce electricity supplies to the besieged Gaza Strip on Monday, despite being urged by humanitarian organizations not to implement the decision, which came at the request of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Electricity company spokesman Muhammad Thabet said the reduction meant power would be provided for only two to three hours a day.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement later on Monday that “the Israeli occupation is primarily responsible for the consequences of the electricity reduction, because Israel collects taxes from Palestinians at Gaza’s crossings that are more than enough to cover Gaza’s of electricity needs.”
— RT (@RT_com) June 13, 2017
Another Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, was also quoted in an official Hamas statement as saying that both Israel and Abbas were responsible for the “disastrous repercussions of these electricity reductions and of blocking fuel supplies to reach the Gaza Strip’s power plant.”
Gaza’s sole power plant shut down in April, as Gaza’s electricity officials said they could not afford a PA-imposed tax on diesel fuel that doubled the price of operating the plant.
As a result, Gazans went from eight hours of electricity a day down to three or four.
With electricity cuts to Gaza, vital surgeries are cut by 1/3 and humanitarian catastrophe looms https://t.co/9drrsgQa9A
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) May 30, 2017
Barhoum said the Israeli and PA measures would “accelerate the deterioration of the situation in the Gaza Strip, because they affect every aspect of daily life.”
Gaza, which marked its 10th year under Israeli blockade last week, has struggled for years with power shortages due to limited fuel access and degraded infrastructure.
The power reduction is expected to have immediate and disastrous effects on the medical sector in particular, which is also impacted by separate PA budget cuts, putting hundreds of patients’ lives at risk.
(Maan, PC, Social Media)