Saturday, March 10, 2012

Gaza power plant shuts down for third time

From Egypt Independent:

The Gaza Strip's sole power plant shut down on Saturday for the third time in a month due to a shortage of fuel, the territory's energy authority said.

The plant, which supplies close to a third of the electricity in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, shut down on February 14 because of an interruption in the supply of fuel to the territory. Operations resumed partially on February 21.

"Means must be found to ensure that enough fuel supplies reach the power station in order to ease the hardships of the Palestinian people," the energy authority statement read.

In February, the Hamas rulers of Gaza announced they had reached a "comprehensive agreement" with Egypt to permanently end the electricity crisis in Gaza, in a three-stage deal that would include increased fuel and electricity deliveries. Before the deal was announced, Egypt had already said it would provide an extra 22 megawatts of electricity to the Gaza Strip.
I reported on Friday that Egypt is still insisting to transfer fuel through existing pipelines in Kerem Shalom, but Hamas is refusing because it would miss out on tax revenue.

The question is, how long will it be before Egypt publicly calls out Hamas for creating and prolonging this crisis? Hamas is betting that the new Egyptian government will not criticize it and appear to support Israel, but Hamas' continued emotional blackmail of Egypt has got to be wearing thin.