Fuel shortage in Gaza Strip due to Passover closures
Published Friday 18/04/2014 (updated) 02/05/2014 22:10
A Palestinian boy rides his bicycle near the Gazy City power plant on
March 15, 2014 (AFP/File Mohammed Abed)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Gaza Strip is suffering from a fuel shortage due to the repeated closures of the Kerem Shalom crossing with Israel over the Passover holidays, officials said on Friday.
Member of the administrative council of petroleum and gas company owners Mohammad al-Abadla told Ma'an that the Gaza Strip has been experiencing a diesel, petrol, and gas crisis for the last 10 days due to a supply shortage, which has been aggravated by closures for the Jewish holiday.
Al-Abadla said that not enough fuel is currently being allowed to enter by Israel, and that any amount currently received is distributed directly to gas stations, which have been left with no fuel reserves.
He added that when the crossing is open around 150 thousand liters of gasoline, 200K-250 thousand liters of diesel, and 200 tons of cooking gas are able to enter into the strip.
The crossing was closed on April 14, 15, and 18 and is scheduled to be closed on April 20, 21, 25, and May 5, 6, as well as June 3 and 4, in addition to weekly closures on Fridays and Saturdays.
Israeli officials also shut down checkpoints for Palestinians across the West Bank for extended periods to mark the Jewish holiday of Passover.
Fuel shortages have been a fact of life in the Gaza Strip since early November, when the strip's only power plant was forced to shut down for over a month due to the tightening of a 7-year-long blockade imposed on the territory by Israel with Egyptian support.
Although the power plant reopened in December, it has shut down multiple times since due to recurrent shortages, leading to major power cuts for extended periods of time.
Until July of this year, tunnels connecting Gaza to Egypt provided a vital lifeline for the territory amidst the otherwise crippling Israeli blockade. The blockade has been in place since 2006, and it has limited imports and exports and led to a major economic decline and wide-reaching humanitarian crisis.
In the last year, however, the situation had greatly improved, as the tunnels to Egypt witnessed a brisk trade following the Egyptian Revolution. Since the coup against Egyptian president Morsi in July, however, Egypt has strictly enforced the blockade and targeted the tunnels.
Gaza Strip energy officials blame Egypt for destroying these tunnels while maintaining the larger economic blockade, along with Israel.