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Gaza's only power plant 'shuts down for lack of fuel'
Published Saturday 15/03/2014 (updated) 06/04/2014 10:21
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A view of the Gaza Strip's sole power plant in Nusairat taken on
March 26, 2012 (AFP/File Mohammed Abed)
GAZA CITY (AFP) -- The Gaza Strip's only power plant shut down Saturday due to a lack of fuel from Israel, which closed a goods crossing after militant rocket attacks, the energy authority said.

"The plant has completely ceased to function due to a lack of fuel caused by (Israel's) closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing," said Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil, deputy director of the energy authority in the Palestinian territory ruled by the Islamist movement Hamas.

On Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon ordered the closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza and the Erez pedestrian crossing "until further security assessments."

In response, Khalil said, the energy authority cut the plant's operation from only 12 hours a day to six until the fuel ran out.

Khalil told Ma'an Sunday -- before the recent flare-up between Gaza militants and the Israeli army -- that the plant would be shutting down within "four or five days" because fuel donated by Qatar had run out.

But on Wednesday, Qatar agreed to continue funding fuel for three more months, Gaza's energy authority said, according to Reuters.

The power plant, which supplies some 30 percent of Gaza's electricity needs, has been forced to shut down several times, most recently in December.

Qatar donated $10 million to Hamas authorities in Gaza for fuel in the wake of the humanitarian crisis caused by severe weather in the region in December.

Even before winter storm Alexa, Gaza had experienced extreme fuel shortages that cut off access to basic necessities for Gaza residents since early November.

The Gaza Strip has been under a severe economic blockade imposed by Israel since 2006. Although enforcement from the Egyptian side eased following the 2011 revolution, since the July ouster of democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi military authorities have tightened control.

The blockade has severely limited the imports and exports of the Gaza Strip and has led to frequent humanitarian crises and hardship for Gazans.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
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1 ) Tom Kinney / USA
15/03/2014 15:10
It is a simple two step procedure to solve this problem. 1. Recognize Israel right to exist. 2. Tell Hamas to take a hike.

2 ) Mel / USA
15/03/2014 16:49
High &mighty unGodly Zionists should be MIGHTILY ASHAMED of 80yrs COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENTon relatively defenseless,trapped,refugeed,discriminated CIVILIAN Muslim/Christian Palestinians,Jewish activists&dissidents & any 'Others','Goys','Smolinim'etc who PROUDLY STAND AGAINSTcruel Nazi-Zionism.Keep digging your own Zionist grave,Israel,coz no-one else will DIG it for you!Is THIS why we liberated the Nazi camps?So facist Zionism could 'transfer'that EVIL on to innocent Palestinians? Sumad,Palestine!!

3 ) @ Tom-1 / USA too
15/03/2014 17:06
I DISAGREE. Israel does not need to be recognized, and Hamas can stay, * BUT THE "RESISTANCE", AKA TERRORISM, MUST BE RENOUNCED, * AND A PEACE PROCESS MUST BE BEGUN. Hamas chose this, and can undo this, for the Gaza civilians, for Without Hamas' Terrorism There Would Be No Crossings at all, much less the Crossing, that was recently shutdown, * AND IF HAMAS WILL NOT QUIT THE TERRORISM, * THEN ISRAEL SHOULD QUIT SUPPLYING WATER & ELECTRICITY.

4 ) Outlier / USA
15/03/2014 17:28
Hamas is responsible for causing the problem and Hamas is responsible for solving the problem. Let's see if they figure it out.

5 ) Robby / USA
15/03/2014 20:53
Is there a reason the fuel can't come from Egypt?

6 ) Mel / USA
15/03/2014 21:14
#4:Outlier/USA: Jeeez Outlier,you must LIE WAY OUTSIDE the realms of sanity,knowledge&humanity if you believe the indoctrination you've been fed,or enjoy?Do you realize HOW ignorant,or sadistically cruel(or BOTH)you sound? Just like the paranoid German citizens who believed the Nazi indoctrination & FEAR machine!Now YOU succumb to that method,& denegrate yourself,against millions of 'other' innocents?Dude,if you're the voice of Israel,you make me proud to be a Goy with sane Jewish FRIENDS.

7 ) Outlier / USA
16/03/2014 01:26
6., Mel, you can't teach stupid. That goes for you and it goes for Hamas. It may sound heartless, but it is THEIR problem. The solutions are there if they are willing to accept them.

8 ) Mark of Lewiston / USA
16/03/2014 07:19
The last several times the plant was bombed, the US paid to rebuild it. The Bushies issued war risk insurance. The plant should be running on gas. The PA can contract with any of several international companies to drill fracking wells for gas and directional wells to tap the offshore gas fields. Either or both methods would eliminate any need for diesel to be trans-shipped via Israel.

9 ) Mel / USA
16/03/2014 17:47
#8:Mark:"drill fracking wells"? No,that'll turn Gaza into an Alberta-Tar-Sands SWAMP?Gazan's don't need MORE pollusion,toxicity,cancer on their TRAPPED,illegally-blockaded refugeed bodies.They already have extended marine-gas supplies in Gazan waters to drill CLEANLY thru'FAIR contracts & HAVE AMPLE SOLAR energy,if BRICS nations step up & help them out,to start the process/economy. But,ICC/ICJ/UNGA MUST end Israels' illegal OCCUPATION/COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT 1ST! Set Palestine FREE 2 LIVE FREE!

10 ) Colin Wright / USA
05/04/2014 12:18
To Mark of Lewiston #8: 'The PA can contract with any of several international companies to drill fracking wells for gas and directional wells to tap the offshore gas fields. ' This is vaguely similar to suggesting the occupants of the Warsaw ghetto should have started a bakery. Israel OF COURSE would neither allow in the equipment, nor permit the drilling to take place -- unless she wanted to amuse herself by letting the facilities be built and then bombing them.

11 ) Colin Wright / USA
05/04/2014 12:28
To Mel #6: 'Jeeez Outlier,you must LIE WAY OUTSIDE the realms of sanity,knowledge&humanity...' Well, Outlier is a Zionist. The deficiencies you mention are pretty much prerequisites.
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