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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Gaza to finally receive fuel - through Israel

From Ma'an:
A delivery of fuel arrived in Gaza on Wednesday at the Kerem Shalom crossing on the Israeli border, a Palestinian official said.

Liaison officer Raed Fattouh said he expected around 400,000 liters of fuel to be delivered on Wednesday, adding that the terminal was equipped to receive double that amount.

The delivery follows a deal announced Tuesday between the Hamas-led government in Gaza and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority to end the power crisis in the coastal enclave.

Gaza government spokesman Taher al-Nunu said the power authority had transferred 2 million shekels ($537,000) to the PA to pay for the fuel, purchased from Israel.

PA spokesman Ghassan al-Khatib confirmed receipt of the payment and said the PA would arrange delivery of 415,000 liters of fuel across the Israeli border.

Al-Khatib said daily deliveries of fuel would continue as long as the Gaza power authority continued to send payment.

It is hoped the interim deal, which allows Hamas to buy fuel from Israel through PA intermediaries, will ease the power crisis which has plagued the Gaza Strip since February.
All of this could have happened two months ago, and the only reason Gazans have been suffering since then is Hamas' refusal to accept fuel from Israel.

Yet Hamas is still blaming Israel. Hamas' Health Minister blamed Israel for all of Gazan suffering, saying that they have a shortage of medicines and fuel. However, Israel does not limit medicines to Gaza at all; the PA provides them and Israel sends every drop through.

I was wondering why Egypt was involved in the negotiations, but COGAT provides the answer - and it tells us more about what a joke Fatah/Hamas "unity" is than anything else:
COGAT approved and coordinated the movement of 410,000 liters of gas to the power plant in Gaza. The coordination of the gas movement will take place after an agreement was signed between the PA, Egypt and the "Dor-Alon" gas company for the movement of 500,000 liters of gas from Israel to the Gaza strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing. The PA will pay for the gas to "Dor-Alon". The money necessary in order for the payment to take place shall be collected by Egypt from the Hamas authorities in the Gaza strip and will be transferred to the PA.

Hamas hates the PA so much that it refuses to pay the PA directly for the fuel! Instead it spent an extra couple of weeks in negotiations - and prolonging the suffering of Gazans.

I imagine that the large amount of fuel that is reportedly coming from Qatar via Egypt will end up going to Kerem Shalom as well, but we'll see.