Life in Gaza under Hamas rule: 5 days of little or no electricity, 2 days of water rationing, and 9 days of no garbage collection because of striking municipal workers.
The five days of no electricity is coming to an end at this hour (Wednesday afternoon), after the European Union agreed to resume paying for fuel for the Gaza Strip's electric company.
Electricity shortages began at the end of last week, when Israel briefly closed a crossing with Gaza, in light of intelligence warnings regarding threats of terrorism. The crossings were reopened on Sunday. At that point, however, the EU announced it would no longer pay for the fuel, and the Israeli supplier, the Dor Alon company, thereupon stopped all deliveries - until the EU annoucement on Wednesday.
Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer made sure to shift any blame for the electricity crisis away from Israel and onto Hamas. He told Voice of Israel Radio today, "I'll tell you five points. 1. Hamas doesn't even give the time of day to the current Fatah government, and doesn't see it as legitimate; we're the only ones who see Fatah as a legitimate body. 2. Hamas fires rockets at the Rothenberg Power Station in Ashkelon, which provides them 70% of their electricity; I plan to inform them soon that if they don't stop, we will stop giving them electricity. 3. We recently went to fix a line that supplies electricity to Gaza, and in exchange, one of our Electric Company workers who went to repair it was shot by snipers from Gaza. 4. With the Prime Minister's consent and approval, I am in the midst of paving a new electric line from Netivot to Gaza. It's a joke; we're the only country that gets rocketed and then supplies them electricity. 5. Dor Alon is a private fuel supplier, and the government has nothing to do with it."
Whatever the reason for the fuel cutoff, it resulted in most Gazans being left without electricity to power fans, refrigerators and the like for up to 20 hours a day. In addition, water pumps were unable to work, leading to water rationing on Tuesday.
The EU said it suspected that Hamas rulers were taking electricity revenues into their own pockets. Hamas responded that the allegations originated in the government of the rival PA faction, Fatah. Hamas violently ousted Fatah from power in Gaza just over two months ago.
Asked if an uprising against the Hamas leadership is being considered, Fatah official and Gaza resident Hisham Abdel Razek said today that he does not "want to think in that direction. Rather, unity between Fatah and Hamas and all the other groups is what we need."
To add to the misery of the Gazans, who voted overwhelmingly for Hamas in the January 2006 elections, garbage has been piling up on the streets for nine days. This, due to a strike by unpaid municipal workers. Hamas won 15 out of 24 Gaza seats in the PA legislature in the elections a year and a half ago.
Dor Alon sent a shipment this morning (Wednesday) of 360,000 liters of fuel - enough for just under two days' worth of electricity.
Humanitarian crisis notwithstanding, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza continued to fire Kassam rockets at Israel. One rocket was fired towards Sderot Tuesday night, and two more hit other western Negev areas Wednesday morning. In addition, several mortar shells were fired from Gaza on Wednesday, exploding near the security fence surrounding southern Gaza. No damage was caused in these attacks.