Israel will cut the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip in two weeks, Israel’s Ynetnews reported yesterday, quoting the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Major General Yoav Mordechai.
Speaking in an interview with BBC Arabic, Mordechai said that the decision came after the Palestinian Authority’s announcement that it would not continue to pay the bill. “Israel is forced to reduce the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip,” he said.
Mordechai blamed the move on an internal power struggle between the Palestinians, referring to Gaza’s Hamas rulers and the Fatah PA in Ramallah headed by the President Mahmoud Abbas. “This is an internal Palestinian issue, not an Israeli-Palestinian issue.”
The COGAT official noted that the decision could have a major humanitarian impact on the Strip’s two million residents who are already facing an energy crisis.
Israel is the main supplier of electricity to Gaza and receives 40 million shekel ($11.1 million) monthly from the PA for the service.
The Ramallah-based authority has refused to abide by its obligations to the people of Gaza over the last few months as it seeks to regain control of the enclave a decade after Hamas took control over the Strip following elections which saw the movement come out on top.
Earlier this week, COGAT received an “official notice” from the PA confirming that it would only pay about 20-30 million shekels ($5.6-8 million) a month for Gaza’s electricity.