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      PA, Hamas Reach Deal on Gaza Fuel

      Fuel imports from Israel to Gaza to begin Wednesday, following an agreement between the PA in Ramallah and Hamas in Gaza.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 4/4/2012, 9:18 AM

      Gaza Arabs wait to fill containers with fuel at a gas station  
      Gaza Arabs wait to fill containers with fuel at a gas station  
      Reuters

      Fuel imports from Israel to Gaza will begin on Wednesday, following an agreement between the governments in Ramallah and Gaza City, officials told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency on Tuesday.

      According to the report, Gaza's power authority has transferred 2 million shekels ($537,000) to the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority to pay for the fuel.

      A spokesman for Hamas, Taher al-Nunu, told Ma’an that starting Wednesday, 500,000 liters of fuel will be transferred daily to Gaza's power plant via the Kerem Shalom crossing.

      “We hope the officials in Ramallah will implement the agreement on time to end the electricity crisis,” said al-Nunu.

      A spokesman for the PA, Ghassan al-Khatib, confirmed the deal  and said the Ramallah government received payment from the power authority in Gaza and that arrangements were underway to send 415,000 liters of fuel to the region.

      In a statement quoted by Ma’an, al-Khatib said the fuel deliveries would continue if the Gaza power authority continued to send payment.

      Gaza's power plant has shut down four times since February amid critical fuel shortages, after Egypt unexpectedly cut supplies via a network of underground tunnels. Residents have faced power outages of up to 18 hours a day.

      Egypt, which is also experiencing fuel shortages, urged Hamas to import fuel across its border with Israel. Hamas initially refused, citing concerns that Israel would then have the power to block supplies.

      Israel transferred 450 thousand liters of industrial diesel to Gaza on March 23, but the fuel reportedly ran out within 48 hours.

      On Monday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) began transferring emergency supplies of fuel to Gaza.