With more than half of the Gaza Strip’s 1,500,000 residents without power, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has decided to allow “limited” amounts of industrial diesel into the strip. The Israelis sealed off the strip last week after a series of clashes tested the five-month long ceasefire agreement.
The announcement comes just hours after the Defense Ministry made an announcement that the crossings would remain closed, amid warnings that the strip’s power supply was on the verge of being completely cut off. The European Commission says it was told Israel might resume the shipments tomorrow.
Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai hit out at the decision to resume shipments, calling the blackouts “Hamas propaganda” and coming out against the restoration of power to the 800,000 residents, warning “if there is only one kilowatt in all of Gaza it will be in one place only – a workshop that manufactures rockets.”
Indeed, intermittent rocket fire has come out of the strip in the week since the Israeli raid, and one hit Israeli soil today, doing no damage and causing no injuries. Without any specific information on the production of Qassam rockets, there is no evidence or even plausible suspicion that the power that would’ve been consumed by 800,000 Gazans was secretly diverted by Hamas to the launching of that rocket, however.