PA tells Israel it will no longer pay for Gaza’s electricity

Hamas spokesperson calls move ‘a dangerous escalation, and a fit of insanity’ as enclave’s energy crisis spirals

BY DOV LIEBER, TOI

A Palestinian uses a gas lighter while he works inside his restaurant during a power outage in the Gaza Strip, November 17, 2013. (Emad Nassar/Flash90)

The Palestinian Authority on Thursday informed Israel it would no longer pay for electricity that the Jewish state supplies to the Gaza Strip, as a power crisis in the Hamas-run enclave deepened.

The announcement of the PA refusal to sponsor electricity came in a statement by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri called the move “a dangerous escalation, and a fit of insanity.”

“We warn Israel against taking this move,” he said.

The move is one of a series of measures taken recently by the PA, aimed at forcing Hamas to either take full responsibility for the territory it governs, or to relinquish control back to the PA.

The PA’s power play comes during an existing energy crisis, after Hamas refused to buy fuel from the PA for the enclave’s only power plant.

Currently, the energy shortage in Gaza has left the Strip’s residents with as little as four hours of power a day.

The World Bank said on Thursday the power cuts have led to a “humanitarian crisis,” hitting hospitals, clinics, water supply and other vital services, as well as household needs.

Without energy provided by Israel, it is unclear how Gaza can maintain even its current scarce levels of electricity.

Israel has been providing Gaza energy through 10 power lines, supplying 125 megawatts, which is 30 percent of the amount needed to power Gaza 24 hours a day.

The cost of this energy supply, which was paid for by the PA, was NIS 40 million a month.

The only other source of energy is provided by Egyptian power lines, which provide 25 megawatts — just 6.25% of the amount necessary to power Gaza for a full day.

Private individuals or international donors can pick up the energy bill for Gaza.

In the past, Qatar has stepped in to buy fuel for the power plant, but has so far showed no intention of coming to the Strip’s rescue in the current crisis.

The Hamas terror group seized power in Gaza in 2007 from the Ramallah-based Fatah organization of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Since then, however, the PA has continued to use a large amount of its small budget to pay for vital infrastructure in the enclave.

In 2016, the PA’s overall budget was $4.14 billion, of which the Gaza Strip’s share was $1.65 billion–approximately 40 percent of PA funds.

At the same time, Hamas has continued to impose high taxes on Gaza’s residents, while funneling the revenue into its coffers and military wing for weaponry to fight Israel.

The renewed push by the PA to regain a foothold in Gaza comes ahead of Abbas’s meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House next week. Ahead of the Washington confab, Abbas was under pressure to show that he represents all Palestinians, including those in Gaza.

In March, Hamas announced it would form an administrative committee to further its governance in Gaza. The announcement infuriated Abbas, who immediately began taking steps to squeeze Hamas out of power.

In early April, Abbas reduced by one-third the salaries of tens of thousands of employees of the pre-Hamas government in Gaza who had been paid for the last decade, on condition that they stay home.

The ongoing salary payments had been intended to ensure loyalty to Abbas, but inadvertently also propped up Hamas by injecting cash into Gaza’s fragile economy.

Khalil al-Haya, the second-highest ranking Hamas leader in Gaza, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Abbas will fail “if he tries to make Gaza kneel or expects to win our loyalty by force.”

“You can’t punish the one who lives in tough conditions,” al-Haya said. “Gaza is an explosive barrel and he (Abbas) cannot press this barrel more. If he does, it’s going to explode in his face and in all directions.”

Avi Issacharoff and agencies contributed to this report.

April 27, 2017 | Comments Off on PA tells Israel it will no longer pay for Gaza’s electricity | 72 views

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6 Comments / 0 Comments

  1. And this is the people that the world is pressing succesful Israel to share Eretz Israel with; the very Sacred Land The Almighty gave to His Chossen People.
    It would be suicidal for Israel to accept the “two state solution”. It is a purely satanic proposal, aimed at a political and physical holocaust.
    Reject up front every intent of the world to continue with this 20 year + failure.

  2. :
    Yosef, HaTzaddik, provides Israel with the proper response to this “crisis”:

    Israel will barter transmission of electrical power into the Arab enclaves in return for the Arabs therein signing-over whatever legal claims they might have to the real property inside the distribution grid.

    But first the Israel power company needs to be SOLD OFF, at OPEN AUCTION, to the highest private bidders. The proceeds should be REBATED to Israeli taxpayers.

    The shareholders — Jews, Arabs, Chinese, whoever — would stand to gain free-&-clear control of all land which had been (voluntarily!) bartered away.

  3. @ Abolish_public_education:
    xx

    The first half of the post is O.K. (I am curious as to HOW the squatter Arabs ever got GENUINE Title Deeds originally being squatters and/or mud hut fellahin)

    As for the Israel Power Company to be sold off to the highest bidder…well…This is the most asinine suggestion I have ever read on the subject. I need say no more, as other posters will likely develop it further.

  4. Turn off the power then- and the water if they do not pay.

    Quote the abominable Mrs T – “What doesn’t pay doesn’t stay!”

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