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.
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.
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.