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      Israel to Transfer Diesel to Gaza

      Gaza energy crisis over? Israel to transfer 450 thousand liters of industrial diesel for the Gaza power station.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 3/23/2012, 12:13 AM

      Kerem Shalom
      Kerem Shalom
      Flash 90

      Israel will transfer 450 thousand liters of industrial diesel to Gaza on Friday for the Gaza power station.

      The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah has reportedly purchased the fuel from the Israeli Dor Alon company and it will enter Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing. The Coordinator of Government Activities in Yesha, Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, has agreed to open the crossing on Friday, when it is normally closed, for the purpose of transferring the diesel.

      The shortage of fuel in Gaza caused a power crisis that triggered lengthy blackouts in Hamas-run Gaza last month.

      The outages started in mid-February, leaving households with just six hours of electricity a day, and provoking widespread criticism of Hamas in the coastal enclave.

      Egypt and Hamas had reached an agreement on fuel transfer, but the agreement was delayed because of a disagreement over the route the promised fuel would make into Gaza.

      Egypt reportedly wanted to stop the passage of fuel through tunnels under the border between Gaza and Egypt, but the official Rafah terminal is not equipped for goods transfers.

      The only alternative route for the fuel was through Israel and then back into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom terminal, but Gaza’s Hamas rulers were reluctant to transfer the fuel through Israel, claiming Israel “severely restricts” the movement of people and goods from Gaza. Hamas changed its mind on this issue on Thursday, making the transfer possible.

      Earlier it was reported that the fuel shortage in Gaza is expected to reach crisis proportions within a few days.

      Despite Hamas’ claims of a humanitarian crisis caused by Israel’s blockade on Gaza, Israel allows various goods to enter the area and also allows for the exporting of agricultural products, such as strawberries and carnations, from Gaza to Europe, as part of an extensive project financed by the Dutch government.

      Despite the recent rocket barrage from Gaza, Israel kept open the Erez Crossing for passengers and employees of international organizations operating in Gaza. Kerem Shalom was open for the delivery of 200 truckloads to Gaza residents.