Sunday, August 08, 2010

8-Aug-10: Mid East oil potentates look on as Gaza's sole power plant shuts down

We're witnessing one of those too-rare moments where the undoubted suffering of ordinary Arabs is 100% caused again by the arrogance and apathy of their own leaders.

The difference this time is that no rational onlooker can fix the blame on Israel.

There's a striking irony about yesterday's shut-down: in the midst of a fierce heat-wave impacting Israel and our neighbours, Gaza's air-conditioners are dead because... they don't have enough oil. Oil.

Here's the AP report:
Engineers shut down Gaza City's sole power plant on Saturday because of a lack of fuel, switching off electricity to some half a million people in the midst of a heat wave. The fuel for the plant is supplied by the rival Palestinian government in the West Bank, which says it has reduced shipments because Gaza's Hamas government is behind on payments... For the past few months the plant has supplied just six to 10 hours of power a day because of the ongoing problems with getting enough fuel from the West Bank government... Gazans who can afford to buy generators use them to supplement the shortage. The noisy machines crowd the sidewalk and fill the air with gasoline fumes in Gaza City's commercial district. But a complete power cut is expected to deepen the misery in Gaza, where residents have suffered through a sweltering heat wave — severe even by the standards of this hot, dry seaside enclave. Temperatures have soared well over 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) for the past few weeks. Gaza's rulers, the militant Islamic group Hamas, are meant to collect utility bills and send the cash to their rivals, the Western-backed Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, which use it to buy the fuel.
Full story here.

Fo the record, as Ynet points out, the plant provides 20% of Gaza's power, mainly to Gaza City. The rest of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip gets its electricity from Egypt and Israel.
"The power plant has been shut down three times in the past for similar reasons. Gaza's Hamas rulers are meant to collect the utility bills and the rival Western-backed Palestinian Authority is supposed to buy the fuel. [But] Hamas isn't sending enough money. The militant group [of course] denies the charge."
Reminder: For years, Hamas has been intermittently rocketing the very Ashkelon power station that produces power for Gaza.

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