Electricity crisis will lead to 'explosion' in Gaza, Hamas warns

Aaron Brown
June 14, 2017

In comments made to a local radio, Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said that the decision to limit the electricity supply to the Gaza Strip was to cripple the Hamas government.

Israel made the decision to cut the supply of electricity in conjunction with Abbas who chose to halve the funds given to Israel for Gaza's electricity supply.

Israel has agreed to cut down its electricity supply in the Gaza Strip to less than four hours a day, aiding Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in his attempt to undermine militant group Hamas, which has controlled the region for nearly a decade.

Bashi said that Israel had a responsibility to continue to supply power to Gaza.

The request is seen as a way for Abbas and his ruling Fatah party to put pressure on the rival Hamas movement to cede control over Gaza.

The Gaza electricity distribution company says it has not yet been informed of the Israeli decision to slash electricity, but warned of "serious deterioration" if the cuts went into effect. This mean the already limited amount of electricity received by Gaza homes to a number hours daily, reportedly six.

Now the crisis between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, over the latter's support for what the Saudis call "terrorist groups", including the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, could have further negative consequences for Gaza.

Tensions between Israel and Hamas have been escalating since the beginning of 2017.

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Hotlines have been set up to review cases, according to statements carried by the Saudi, Emirati and Bahraini news agencies. Rights group to seek compensation from Saudi Arabia and allies for "collective punishment and global crimes".

Egypt's list of demands included that Hamas hand over 17 men wanted by Cairo on terror charges, the end of weapons smuggling into Sinai, greater security at the border and intelligence on tunnel movements into Gaza, Asharq al-Awsat reported. Israel is the only one supplying electricity to the Gaza Strip.

UNRWA discovered on June 1 "part of a tunnel that passes under two adjacent agency schools in the Maghazi camp" during construction work, spokesman Christopher Gunness said on Friday.

Roy, who has written about Gaza for years, describes harrowing and accelerating levels of social distress and breakdown in the territory as a outcome of the decade-long blockade imposed by Israel with the support of Egypt and the PA.

After the new decision is implemented, Israel will supply Gaza with only 75 megawatts a month.

Israel's blockade of the strip, now more than a decade old, has heavily damaged Gaza's economy, while the enclave's crossing with Egypt has remained largely closed in recent years as well.

The power cuts, as well as a number of other steps taken by the PA since last month, are aimed at forcing Hamas to cede control of the Strip, or begin footing the bill itself.

UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness told HuffPost in a statement that the organization's mandate and position is clear and unchanged.

Israelis, and especially those living near Gaza, don't need another round of violence breaking out because of the power struggle between Hamas and Fatah.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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