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Friday, March 23, 2012

Gazans blaming Hamas for fuel crisis; PA tries to come to the rescue

From Ma'an:
With shortages of electricity, water, fuel, cooking gas and medicine, a lack of economy and no infrastructure, patience with the Hamas-led government in Gaza is running low.

The chronic fuel shortages have added to the despair of Gaza's 1.6 million people, many of whom blame the government for its failure to resolve the endless crises.

The fuel shortages have had a catastrophic effect on daily life. Gazans are enduring daily power cuts of up to 18 hours, hundreds of factories have shut down and even elevators are not working.

Gas station owners say they cannot obtain even a liter of fuel and people are using cooking oil to drive. Others wait in the streets for transport they are lucky to find. Even three-wheel motorbikes are in demand.

The noisy sound of generators can be heard throughout Gaza, day and night, causing several casualties through fires and by their lethal fumes.

At a press conference Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Mohammad Awad said the crisis was politically motivated by external forces that sought to tighten the siege.

But many Gazans are not satisfied by the government's response, and Hamas' ongoing attempts to blame others for the crisis have only angered people further.

"They only blame the Israeli siege, but what has the government done to solve the problem?" a 32-year-old asked.

"It's the lack of management. It's corruption. If they cannot rule then they should leave office. Sometimes they blame the PA and sometimes the EU and now Egypt," another said.

Sameh, a 23-year-old student, said the government could not expect people's support when it failed to provide for its citizens.

"How do they expect the people's support when they are not providing us with means of steadfastness under Israeli occupation and siege in Gaza?"

"People are not asking for surrender under the siege that is a form of collective punishment but again people's fate is with the hands of the government," said Abu Nidal, an unemployed man.

A recent graduate, also unemployed, said: "Life is unbearable in Gaza. Patience has run out."

"For God's sake, they should know that the people are the source of power and authority. People are not happy under the bad circumstances we are going through, so they should do something or step aside and let someone else rule," said a taxi driver who could not find gas.

A 52-year-old restaurant owner who was forced to close his business said Hamas had disappointed voters who hoped the party would bring reform.

"A lot of Fatah supporters voted for Hamas for reform and change but after six years in power, what happens? Tunnel owners including some Hamas members have became very rich, prices of land and apartments and cars have skyrocketed and they even impose taxes and want to share everything we have."

Discrimination against non-Hamas supporters has reached an unprecedented level, as anyone outside the party finds when applying for a government job, and aid sent to the Palestinian people through convoys is not fairly distributed.
Supposedly, fuel was scheduled go to Gaza Friday through Kerem Shalom:
Nathmi Mhanna, a Palestinian Authority border official, said Thursday that 450,000 liters of Israeli diesel would be pumped through the Kerem Shalom crossing on Friday.

The fuel will be used to power the sole electricity plant, Mhanna told Ma'an.

The official said President Mahmoud Abbas and his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, coordinated with Egypt before deciding to route the fuel through Kerem Shalom to ease the crisis.
But Nathmi Mhanna now says that Israeli fuel companies weren't ready to transfer the fuel so it will be delayed. YNet says it will happen Friday.