Israel Rejects PA Demand to Cut Electricity to the Gaza Strip

Abbas Wanted Power Cuts to 'Pressure' Hamas

In late April,, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced he was fully defending all electricity payments to Israel for supplies to the Gaza Strip. The move was seen as part of Abbas’ effort to exert pressure on Hamas, and convince them to cede total control over the strip to him.

It’s not going to plan, and not just because Hamas isn’t willing to surrender. The Israeli Energy Ministry is now saying they won’t cut electricity supplies just because the PA stops paying, because it “does not take orders from the Palestinian Authority.”

As a matter of financial practice, Israel deducts the electricity money from tax revenue it collects on the PA’s half in the occupied West Bank, and the Israeli power monopoly will probably continue to get paid from that, even if Abbas would prefer to see electricity further cut in Gaza.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz expressed concern the power cuts would further destabilize the Gaza Strip, and officials note that Gazans only get 6 hours of electriicity per day as it is. If Israel had done the cut, this would’ve been down to as little as two hours daily.

Gaza is heavily dependent on electricity imports, with only a single diesel-burning power plant which is always short on fuel, and which is likewise always struggling to import parts to keep itself running at anywhere near efficient capacity.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.