Egypt delivers fuel to ease Gaza electricity crisis
June 21 2017 06:16 PM
Palestinian security forces stand guard at the border as trucks carrying fuel enter the Gaza Strip f
Palestinian security forces stand guard at the border as trucks carrying fuel enter the Gaza Strip from Egypt through the Rafah crossing

AFP/Rafah

Egypt began on Wednesday to deliver a million litres of fuel to Gaza, temporarily easing a crisis that has left the Palestinian enclave's two million residents with only a few hours of electricity per day.

The deliveries come two days after Israel began reducing the electricity it supplies to Gaza, following Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's decision to stop paying for it amid a dispute with Hamas -- the rival Palestinian faction that runs Gaza.
The United Nations and rights groups had warned the cuts would have disastrous effects, with the UN warning of a "total collapse" in basic services.
The fuel will go to Gaza's sole power plant, which has been shut since April due to shortages, and will provide enough power for a few days, Samir Moutair, director general of the Gaza electricity company, told AFP..
In total 22 trucks carrying a million litres of fuel for the power plant were entering Wednesday, Wael Abu Omar, the Rafah crossing spokesman, told AFP.
The energy authority said it expected the power station to resume operations in the coming hours.

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Residents of impoverished Gaza -- where two million people live fenced in between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean -- were already receiving only a few hours of mains power before this week.
Israel had been supplying 120 megawatts of electricity to Gaza a month, making up about a quarter of the territory's needs, with the Abbas-run Palestinian Authority paying the 11.3 million euros ($12.65 million) monthly bill.
But after Abbas announced he would no longer pay, the Israel Electric Corporation said power supply would "effectively be reduced on two lines out of 10 every day, until the reduction applies to all 10 lines".
The move threatened to leave Gazans with as little as two hours of power a day, prompting warnings of devastating impacts on the population.
Israeli human rights group Gisha has said the reduction in supplies by "Israel is knowingly aggravating an already dangerous situation in which the strip is teetering on the verge of a humanitarian crisis."
The Egyptian offer will be seen by some as a sign of shifting alliances, following meetings last week between senior Egyptian and Hamas figures, as well as Mohammed Dahlan -- a great rival of Abbas from his Fatah party who is currently in exile.
"This Egyptian support in Gaza is part of what was agreed at the Cairo meetings," General Tawfiq Abu Naim, head of security in Gaza, told a news conference in Rafah on Wednesday.



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