Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ effort to cut electricity to the Gaza Strip as a means of “pressuring” Hamas to hand over control of the region to him is finally getting support from Israel’s security cabinet, which today signed off on a plan to cut exports to the Gaza Strip by 40%, meaning about 45 minutes less of electricity per day in a strip that already is in a state of blackout more than three-quarters of the time.
Abbas had originally sought a 100% cut in Gaza’s electricity, but Israel refused, citing humanitarian concerns. Even with this smaller cut, Israeli military advisers are warning a mounting humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip will likely escalate the level of violence along the Israeli border.
Most in Israel’s current far-right government are quite comfortable with that, as wars against the Gaza Strip are pretty popular among their parties, and it has been awhile since they got to spend a few weeks battering the civilian population in the name of national security.
It’s unlikely that Abbas’ hope that this will lead to an outright Hamas surrender to him will bear fruit, however, and the very public efforts by Abbas to orchestrate the cuts are likely to further fuel opposition to him among locals in Gaza, who see Hamas as the only real alternative to his Fatah Party.