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Israel begins reducing Gaza electricity supply

A Palestinian man has lit a gas lantern during a power shortage in Rafah, Gaza on 27 January 2012 [Abed Rahim Khatib/Apaimages]
A Palestinian man has lit a gas lantern during a power shortage in Rafah, Gaza on 27 January 2012 [Abed Rahim Khatib/Apaimages]

Israel began reducing its electricity feed to the Gaza Strip today adding further pressure on the enclave’s humanitarian situation.

The cutback, announced last week by the Israeli government, is expected to shorten by at least 45 minutes the daily average of four hours of power that Gaza’s two million residents receive from an electricity grid dependent on Israeli supplies, Palestinian officials said.

The Palestinian Energy Authority said the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) had cut by eight megawatts the 120 megawatts it supplies to the Gaza Strip.

Read: Timeline of Israel’s anti-Palestinian laws since 1948

An IEC spokeswoman confirmed a cutback had begun, in line with the West Bank-based Palestinian government’s decision to cover only 70 per cent of the monthly cost of Israeli electricity supplies to the Gaza Strip.

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet gave the state-owned IEC the green light to implement the reduction, saying that Israel would not cover the shortfall in PA payments.

#ApartheidState

The Palestinian Authority said it had acted because Hamas had failed to reimburse it for the electricity. But the PA’s move was widely seen as a bid to pressure Hamas to relinquish its hold on the enclave.

The power crisis in the Gaza Strip has already forced medical centres to reduce their hours and the treatments on offer.

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  • peepsqueek

    Can someone clear this up academically?— “The ones responsible for this decision are the Israeli enemy who is imposing a siege on the Gaza Strip and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas who is cooperating with the occupation,” charged the Hamas spokesman.

    Meanwhile, Yusuf al-Mahmoud, the official spokesman of the PA government in Ramallah, blamed Hamas, which is the de facto ruler of Gaza, for being responsible for the electricity crisis in the territories under its control.

    In an official statement, Mahmoud said that Hamas’s governing authority, which took control of Gaza in a bloody coup in the summer of 2007, has been collecting money from Gazans for electricity for over a decade, but these funds have never been transferred to the PA treasury in Ramallah.

    Mahmoud said that Hamas was counting on the PA to continue to pay the costs of electricity to Gaza, and therefore refused to reach a reconciliation agreement that would end the rift between the sides.

    A power plant which supplies 30 percent of Gaza’s electricity stopped functioning on April 16 after a dispute broke out between the PA and Hamas over taxation on fuel.

    Gaza receives its power from the Israeli energy company Dor, but has not paid the company for several months. After a previous energy crisis a few months ago, Gaza received a supply of fuel from Turkey and Qatar, but both supplies have since been spent.

    • Helen4Yemen

      Palestine is not your grandmother’s land, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Germany are.

      Neil Gaiman:

      “According to 23andme, genetically I am
      99.6% Ashkenazi,
      0.3% unspecified European,
      0.1% East Asian. ”
      Total European = 99.9%
      Total Middle East = 0.0%

      https://twitter*com/neilhimself/status/278035051210498048
      replace * with .

  • gogrrrl

    The ICC stated in a 2014 judgment that Israel is still occupying Gaza as it retains effective control over air, land and sea. Under the laws of occupation Israel is responsible for ensuring the provision and maintenance of the essentials for civilian life – this includes electricity, health care etc etc. It is clearly ISRAEL’S responsibility. Abbas is just a demented old man throwing a tanty because the ELECTED government of Palestine is not handing over the taxes to him, to add to all the billions he has stolen from funds provided from international donors for Palestine, including Gaza, but which seems never to find their way past his trough.

    • peepsqueek

      It is a Middle East problem with or without Gaza. Al-Monitor:
      “Citizens throughout the Middle East are suffering from ongoing power outages, without a glimmer of hope that the situation will improve in the near future. Hisham Khatib, an Arab electricity expert, spoke about this phenomenon at the opening of the 12th annual POWER-GEN Middle East & WaterWorld Middle East conference in Abu Dhabi in October 2014. This article summarizes the findings of the conference and, given the importance of the electricity sector to the region, focuses on potential for change if modern policies are adopted.
      Original Article اقرا المقال الأصلي باللغة العربية

      Khatib said that he expects the challenges of the last few decades to continue and that citizens will continue to suffer for the following reasons: the rapidly increasing growth of annual consumption; the increasingly urgent need for investment; the ongoing and widespread reliance on petroleum products for power generation, despite the limited attempts to utilize alternative sources of energy; the continued shortage of natural gas, which is the best fuel to generate electricity; the continuous security threats to power and energy networks and their supplies in several regional countries; the lack of adequate regional networks; and the slow progress toward diversifying the sources of power generation.

      Over the past decades, power generation in the Middle East has increased by around 6-8% per year, up to 5-10% in some countries. It is notable, meanwhile, that the global annual rate of power generation has only increased by around 2.5% annually. The high rates of power consumption in the region can be attributed to the following factors: the increase in population growth; steep government subsidies for electrical power, provided at a cheaper rate than the actual cost price; limited attempts to rationalize consumption; and the soaring temperatures in the summer in Gulf states.

      Throughout the region, government energy subsidies are adversely affecting the electricity sector. Subsidies lead to increased consumption rates, in addition to delays and disruption in using energy alternatives and modern, energy-saving technologies. Subsidies provided by Middle Eastern states, in total worth roughly $500 billion, are equivalent to about half of the subsidies provided by all governments in the rest of the world. In the region, subsidies to the energy sector constitute around 8.4% of the gross national product of oil-exporting countries and around 6.3% of oil-importing countries.

      It goes without saying that these subsidies have become a heavy burden on Middle Eastern economies. The annual cost of electricity subsidies has increased to $65 billion, a figure equivalent to about a quarter of government subsidies to the energy sector in general. These subsidies help the rich more than they do the poor. However, it is possible to help poor people by subsidizing only the first band of consumption. There are currently only a few proposals to reduce subsidies by Middle Eastern governments, despite the importance of gradually lifting them.

      It is clear that the continuing rise of electricity consumption in the region is leading to increasing investment. In the period 2014-18, to increase electricity capacity by around 120 gigawatts, new investments worth around $140 billion will be required. For example, Gulf states will require $73 billion in investments to provide 66 additional gigawatts; countries in the Levant will need around $44 billion to provide 34 gigawatts; and the Maghreb states will need $23 billion to provide around 20 gigawatts. If distribution costs are included, Middle Eastern states will require a total investment of around $230 billion.

      The Middle East continues to face difficulties in obtaining the necessary funds to invest in the energy sector. Governments are hesitant to finance power plants, tending to prioritize financing educational, health and social services. Instead, the prevailing trend is to have power plants constructed by independent investors from the private sector, reaching agreements with the government for the purchase of energy, not including the cost of fuel. How private investments fund power stations can be broken down as such: 30% from the capital raised and 70% as debts.

      The available electrical power in the Middle East during 2013 reached about 120-220 gigawatts in the Gulf states, 65 gigawatts in the Levant and 35 gigawatts in the Maghreb.

      Almost all Middle Eastern countries suffer from power shortages and outages. Even the capital cities of some oil-producing countries suffer daily power outages for hours. This is primarily due to excessive consumption stemming from government subsidies, as well as the poor management of the electricity sector, scarcity of investments and rampant corruption.