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Gaza's Power Plant Resumes Operations

Gaza’s lone power plant resumes operations, after the PA left it off for one more day due to disagreements with Hamas.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 3/18/2014, 5:16 AM

Truck carrying fuel arrives in Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing
Truck carrying fuel arrives in Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing
Flash 90

The Palestinian Authority (PA) on Monday ended its punishment of Hamas and allowed Gaza’s lone power plant to resume operations.

The Ma’an news agency reported that the Gaza power station, which had been shut off since Saturday due to a fuel shortage resumed generating electricity, a day after Israel allowed fuel deliveries into the region.

Jamal Dardasawi, a public information officer for the power plant, told Ma'an that the company would resume the former distribution system to households of eight hours with electricity and eight hours without.

Israel closed the Kerem Shalom crossing last Thursday after terrorists in Gaza showered Israel with over 100 rockets . Although the crossing was reopened on Sunday, the PA, which is in a longtime feud with Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers, only transferred a fifth of the needed fuel, leading to the delay in resumed operations.

A spokesman for COGAT, the Israeli defense ministry unit responsible for crossings into Gaza, confirmed that 100,000 liters of fuel were delivered on Sunday via the Kerem Shalom crossing for the power station.

A PA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to Ma’an that “problems in transferring funds between the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and the Hamas government in Gaza are to blame" for the delay.

On Saturday, Hamas blamed Israel and its decision to shut down Kerem Shalom for the fuel shortage in Gaza.

The Hamas-run enclave has been dealing with rolling power outages since last November. An Egyptian siege cutting smuggling tunnels transporting fuel from Sinai, coupled with high PA taxes that Hamas refuses to pay on fuel coming through Israel, has led Gaza to shut down the plant frequently.

Meanwhile, the PA’s debt to the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) remains in arrears. The head of the IEC revealed last month that the PA has accumulated a debt to the IEC of close to 1.4 billion shekels and urged the Israeli government to reach a decision to cut off the power supply to Gaza until the debt is paid.

On Monday, the Professors for a Strong Israel Forum sent a letter warning the IEC that its policy of continuing to supply power to PA regions despite the PA's refusal to pay is tantamount to discrimination. If the IEC doesn’t cut off the supply to the PA, said the group, it will lose its legal right to cut off power to Israeli customers for non-payment