PA Power Blackout of Gaza Ignored by Most Countries
Gaza residents have been without electricity for most of the day this week due to the Palestinian Authority’s halt in fuel shipments through Israeli crossings. Unlike their reaction to previous blackouts allegedly caused by limited Israeli shipments of diesel, the international community generally has remained silent.
The PA in Ramallah, headed by the Fatah party, is demanding back payment of millions of dollars for electricity. The rival Hamas party, which controls Gaza, claims that most of the money wasn’t paid because it is used for operating costs of the Gaza generator.
The PA blockade reflects a growing financial crush following the European Union’s announcement last November that it no longer would take responsibility for footing the bill for industrial fuel. Gaza residents receive electricity for six hours at a time, interrupted by a 12-hour blackout because of the fuel shortage,
The French news agency AFP noted that the United Nations United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) “has repeatedly decried Israel's four-year blockade of the territory but rarely extended its criticism to Gaza's Hamas rulers.”
UNRWA diplomatically urged Fatah and Hamas to solve the electricity crisis. "It's a Palestinian problem, made by Palestinians, and causing Palestinian suffering. So let's have a Palestinian solution," UNRWA director John Ging said.
Little criticism was voiced by foreign countries, which previously have condemned Israel for Gaza blackouts, many of which Israel says were stage by Hamas to gain international sympathy.
Meanwhile, Israel has reopened two Gaza crossings for food and merchandise and continues to transfer cooking gas. More than 140 truckloads of aid flowed through the Kerem Shalom crossing so far this week as Israel eases the partial land embargo.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak noted that the blockade would not be necessary if Hamas were to free kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been in captivity for four years since a terrorist raid on an Israeli-manned crossing to Gaza.