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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gazans know Hamas is responsible for fuel crisis

Ma'an reports;

People in the Gaza Strip mostly blame the Hamas government for the ongoing fuel crisis in the coastal enclave, according to a poll released on Saturday.

In Gaza, 48 percent hold Hamas responsible for the cutoff in fuel supplies that plunged the strip into widespread blackouts, the study by the Arab World for Research & Development said.

Just 21 percent charge Israel with responsibility, the PA at 12 percent, and the government of Egypt at 10 percent, according to the poll.
The poll was taken two weeks ago, so the numbers of Gazans who blame Hamas probably have gone up significantly since then.

Hamas is meanwhile rejects the idea of fuel being pumped from Israel, which started on Friday with PA help. They say that the reason is because they are protecting Gaza consumers from paying too much for fuel. No news on the black-market price of fuel in Gaza today.

YNet has something interesting:
Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip have instructed gas station owners to stop selling petrol and diesel fuel in order to enrage the local Palestinians and encourage them to riot against the Egyptian government. The terror organization wishes to pressure Egypt to supply Gaza with fuel without preconditions, reported Egypt's Al-Ahram newspaper on Saturday.

Hamas officials, such as Mahmoud Askoul, Palestinian Authority's Secretary General, and Yossef Raska, advisor to Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh, have publically criticized Egypt for besieging the Gaza Strip and intentionally preventing the transfer of fuel and diesel oil, in order to bring Hamas' leadership to its knees.

Sources stated that Hamas' long-term goal is to solely relay on fuel and commodities from Egypt. The same sources claimed Egypt recently informed Hamas' leaders and the Palestinian Energy Authority that Israel has denied any intent to hinder its fuel supply to Gaza. The Egyptians have made it clear that any fuel shipments will only pass though Israel's crossings, but Hamas insists on receiving their supplies only through Rafah crossing.

Egyptian officials have tried time and time again to convince the Hamas government that Israel is obligated by international law to supply Gaza with fuel, but the terror group keeps insisting on dismissing Israel from such commitments.

Some 450,000 liters of diesel fuel was transferred on Friday from Israel to Gaza. The fuel which was purchased from Dor Alon and which is designated for Gaza's private sector was ordered by private companies in Gaza.
I don't know if I believe Al Ahram in the first paragraph; it is close to Egypt's government and it seems to be more of a pushback for Hamas' very real attempts to pressure Egypt - for example, organizing rallies on Friday to protest Egypt's not sending fuel to Gaza directly.

Egypt is hardly in a position to freely provide Hamas with cheap fuel:
Egypt is asking for assistance from certain Arab countries to help ease the fuel crisis it has been facing for over three months now, MENA reported on Saturday.

The state-run news service quoted a high-level military official as saying that Egypt thought of seeking help from Arab countries when the fuel crisis started.

The nationwide gas and fuel crisis has continued in Cairo and other governorates this month, with demand increasing as buyers fear further shortages.

Protesters demanded that the government take action in various governorates, and cars queued for several kilometers outside petrol stations in some regions.

The Islamist-dominated parliament blamed the government for failing to respond to the crisis, saying that such a failure is a reason to remove the cabinet.
It looks like Hamas has badly miscalculated in its creation of, and handling of, the fuel crisis in Gaza. Egypt is not bending on its insistence on fuel coming through Israel and Gazans aren't believing Hamas' lies. Even so, Hamas TV announced that a child died in a hospital when its ventilator shut down, apparently still gambling that Gazans will be angry at Egypt.

(h/t @challahhuakbar)