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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Why is Gaza still dark?

A Welsh activist in Gaza tweeted a number of times overnight that Gaza City was completely dark:
Fuel crisis in gaza is getting worse. This is the first time we've had no electricity and no generator in the middle of the night. 

I look out the window and gaza is in blackout. Total blackout

Streetlights have gone out and cars are creeping along slowly unsure how to continue. Also I banged my knee. Ouch.

On the roof and the only that I can see with electricity is Shifa Hospital.

This is a  horizon during this fuel crisis. That single lit building in the distance = the hospital. 

Of course, he blames Israel (and peripherally Egypt.)

But Israel has been sending lots of fuel into Gaza. Every week the number has been somewhat inconsistent but it has been enough to run the Gaza power plant; yesterday 289,000 liters were sent in - a higher amount than usual.

COGAT's weekly reports lately have been saying "Due to the heavy-duty diesel crisis from Egypt to the Gaza strip in order to operate the power plant, operating the power plant may be problematic and the electricity may temporarily not work in the strip." I don't quite understand this - is the diesel being sent by Israel not the type the power plant needs? That was the entire point of the agreement where Hamas allowed fuel to be transferred through Israel.

As usual, it seems to be that Hamas is artificially creating this crisis. There was one unreported incident last month where Hamas got into a dispute with the local energy office and no fuel was transferred for a day.

But any way you look at it, there is far more fuel going into Gaza now then during the months of the crisis earlier this year, and if Gaza is suffering through more power cuts now than then, it has nothing to do with Israel. Hamas has a history of manipulating the fuel supply to score political points, and this is probably what is happening now.