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PA Leaves Gaza in the Dark Another Day

Only a fifth of needed fuel transferred by PA, as tensions between Hamas and PA extend the power outage in Gaza.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 3/16/2014, 10:44 PM

Fuel truck at Kerem Shalom crossing (file)
Fuel truck at Kerem Shalom crossing (file)
Flash 90

Gaza's lone power plant, shut off since Saturday due to a fuel shortage, will remain off until Monday according to the terror organization Hamas's government. The responsible party for the extension appears to be the Palestinian Authority (PA), Hamas's rival.

The power station will restart on Monday at 6 a.m., Deputy Chief of the Gaza energy authority Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil told AFP.

Israel closed the Kerem Shalom Crossing last Thursday after terrorists in Gaza showered Israel with over 100 rockets starting last Wednesday. Although the crossing was reopened on Sunday, the PA only transferred a fifth of the needed fuel, leading to the delay in resumed operations.

"We were expecting the delivery today (Sunday) of 500,000 liters of fuel, but the delivery has been delayed, and only 100,000 liters have been delivered," reported Khalil. "We should receive 500,000 liters tomorrow." Israeli sources confirmed that only 100,000 liters were delivered.

An anonymous Arab official revealed that "problems in transferring funds between the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and the Hamas government in Gaza are to blame" for the delay.

The tensions between Hamas and the PA reportedly caused the power outage to begin with, as Hamas refused to pay the exorbitant fuel fee imposed by the PA on gas purchased from Israel for the Gaza government.

Those tensions were only display Sunday, when Hamas arrested 13 pro-PA demonstrators, allegedly beating them and others.

Additionally an Egyptian siege, which has cut off smuggling tunnels into Gaza, has caused the energy crisis. Indeed, Hamas was banned by Egypt two weeks ago.

While Gaza was quick to blame Israel's closing of the crossing for their energy troubles, Israeli officials noted the crossing is normally closed Friday and Saturday, meaning it was effectively only closed one day, last Thursday.

Rather, the rivalry between the PA and Hamas, which violently took over Gaza from the PA in 2007, has been pointed to as the source of the problem.