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Egyptian fuel deliveries resume to Gaza power plant as power lines remain damaged

July 10, 2017 3:29 P.M. (Updated: July 11, 2017 11:58 A.M.)
(File)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- Gaza’s power authority announced on Monday that fuel deliveries from Egypt had resumed to the besieged coastal enclave’s sole power plant, after being suspended since Thursday as a result of the Palestinian Authority (PA) blocking payments for fuel purchased by Hamas authorities.

However, the Egyptian power lines that feed Gaza’s southern district remained out of commission, after they were damaged during clashes between militants and Egyptian forces on the Egypt side of the Rafah border three days ago.

As a result of the resumption in fuel deliveries from Egypt, a second turbine in Gaza’s power plant was back in operation, out of its three total turbines. Only one of the turbines had been function for the past few days.

The PA had allegedly frozen all money transfers from Palestinian banks, amid an an increasingly bitter feud between the Fatah-led PA and Gaza’s de facto leading party Hamas.

Gaza’s power authority had said that “alternative methods” of transferring payment were being explored Sunday, and it remained unclear by what means the payments ultimately reached Egypt.

The power authority said that Gaza was now coping with a 75 percent shortage in electricity due to the damaged Egyptian lines and Israel’s decision last month to drastically slash its electricity supplies to Gaza at the PA's request.

Israeli NGO Gisha said Sunday, prior to the resumption of Egyptian fuel deliveries, that the electricity crisis in small Palestinian territory had reached “a dangerous all-time-low.”

The group explained that the power lines from Egypt -- which can provide up to 28 megawatts, but are often damaged -- had been out of commission since deadly clashes erupted Friday in the Rafah area near the border with Gaza.

Gisha said there was no known time frame for their repair.

Residents reported to the NGO that rolling power cuts have been lasting as long as 19 hours.

When Israel first announced its decision to reduce electricity supplies to Gaza, it was reported the supply would be reduced by 40 to 80 megawatts. However, sources from Gaza’s electricity company and power authority told Gisha that the actual amount of electricity provided by Israel has not not exceeded 70 megawatts.

“The acute insufficiency of electricity in Gaza cannot be allowed to continue. It puts the lives of residents at great risk, causes severe damage to the Strip’s infrastructure, and puts the stability of the region as a whole at jeopardy,” Gisha wrote in its statement.

“The electricity crisis in Gaza is the product of policy, not natural disaster. Israel, the PA, the government in Gaza, Egypt, and the international community must cooperate in finding a solution. The lives of residents must be protected, regardless of political disputes.”
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