Thursday, September 12, 2013

  • Thursday, September 12, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
Yesterday I reported that private Gaza buyers were planning to purchase fuel from Israeli companies because of the Egyptian siege on Gaza that shut down almost all smuggling tunnels.

COGAT tells me that Gazans already started buying fuel from Israel in August, for the first time in a year:

Indeed, the private sector in Gaza in fact started to buy petrol from Israel with the closing of the tunnels. The quantities are listed below.

Normally, Hamas prefers to smuggle fuel to the Gaza Strip via the illegal tunnels from Egypt. Transferring fuel from Israel happens only in exceptional cases, for the obvious reason that it's more expensive. Before June 2013, we rarely saw fuels coming through Kerem Shalom, only when there was something that was preventing them from going through the tunnels.

Between March and July of 2012, 2,261,323 liters of diesel and 678,684 liters of gasoline were transferred for the private sector. After that period, Hamas went back to smuggling the fuels through the tunnels.

Starting June 2013, the private sector began purchasing fuel from Israel and transferring it via Kerem Shalom again. During the last month (since the beginning of August) 3,802,971 liters of gasoline and 263,014 liters of diesel were transferred for the private sector, in addition to the fuel transferred for the use of the international organizations operating in the Gaza Strip.

The fuel bought from Israel is used freely in Gaza- It may be used for the power plant, as well as other purposes. This is an internal Palestinian matter, we only coordinate the transfer of fuels - not the price or the quantity. They can decide when and what to purchase, and from whom.
I also asked how much electricity and water Gaza buys from Israel:
As for the electricity and water provided by Israel to Gaza- it's paid for by the PA, as determined in the Oslo Accords. Israel transfers 5MCM of water to Gaza yearly and 125 MegaWatts via 10 electrical lines daily.
Meanwhile, over 750 people crossed over the Erez crossing from Gaza into Israel last week, the week of Rosh Hashanah, while Egypt continued to only allow a trickle of people to cross the Rafah crossing. Egypt once again closed Rafah completely yesterday after the latest jihadist attack in the Sinai.

There really is a siege of Gaza - and it isn't by Israel.

Al Ahram gives details:

Thousands of Palestinians that need to travel for health, education and other reasons are still stuck at Rafah Crossing, waiting their turn to go through.

Gaza needs 400,000 litres of fuel every day. Most of the supply used to come from Egypt, through the tunnels. Egyptian gasoline was sold at 3.6 shekels (about $1) per litre compared to 7.1 shekels for Israeli gasoline. Egyptian diesel oil cost 3.6 shekels per litre, compared to 6.5 shekels for the Israeli equivalent.

The Palestinian Authority imports fuel from Israel in accordance with the 1994 Paris Agreement, but since Hamas took power in 2007, Gaza mainly relied on smuggled fuel from Egypt.
Mahmoud Abdallah, who owns a gas station in Gaza, says that Egyptian fuel is no longer available. He sells Israeli fuel instead, but says drivers cannot afford it because of its high price. Even businesses buy it only when they have no other choice.

In Rafah, hundreds of travellers are waiting their turn to cross into Egypt. According to the Gaza government, nearly 10,000 are waiting for permission to pass the border.
Rafah Crossing operates six days a week, four hours per day — down from nine hours per day in the past.

Permission is only granted to foreigners, people with exit visas, and patients going for treatment abroad.
Even though the Kerem Shalom crossing is not operating at capacity because there simply isn't enough of a demand for goods at normal market prices, "humanitarian" NGOs continue to primarily blame Israel for Gaza's troubles. The Euro-Mid Observer in a report on Gaza this month almost completely blames Israel for the Gaza problems, with four of its five demands given to Israel and no blame at all given to Egypt.

Ironically, this report downplays any security concerns that Israel has for selling dual-use items to Gaza but doesn't have a word to say about Egypt's security concerns that have caused it to all but shut down Rafah altogether as well as the tunnels.

Which tells you all you need to know about the objectivity of "human rights" NGOs.

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