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PA Steps Up Actions against Hamas, Israel Continues to Reduce Electricity Capacity | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Reuters

Ramallah- For the second time in two days, Israel has reduced the amount of electricity it is providing to the Gaza Strip by additional 12 MW, in compliance with a request from the Palestinian Authority to reach 20 MW less.

This move would exacerbate the crisis of which Israel is part of in addition to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

Israel’s national electric company confirmed the Israeli government instructed it to reduce supply to Gaza at the request of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ government in the West Bank.

Director of Public Relations at Gaza Electricity Company Mohammed Thabet said the enclave’s roughly two million residents could expect to receive even less power.

“The Israeli occupation authorities on Monday morning have reduced 8 megawatts of the electricity capacity feeding Gaza from Israeli lines: an initial step to implement the recently announced decisions to gradually reduce power provided to Gaza.”

Thabet said Gaza was receiving 112 megawatts of power a day, down from the previous level of 120 megawatts daily Gaza needs about 400 megawatts to meet its daily needs. Clean water supplies in the Gaza Strip have begun to dwindle.

In a statement, the electric company confirmed it had begun to reduce supplies on Monday and said shipments would be scaled back gradually, “so that the electricity supply will match the financial commitment.”

“The internal deliveries of electricity to consumers inside the Gaza Strip is not the responsibility of the electric company and is done by internal Palestinian authorities in the Gaza Strip,” it said.

With Gaza’s small power plant out of commission, and Israel providing a fraction of what the territory needs, residents have been scraping by with about four hours of electricity a day.

Israel accuses Hamas of diverting Gaza’s limited electricity for military use and worsening the hardship on its people.

Abbas has grown increasingly frustrated with repeated failures in reconciliation talks with Hamas and the group’s refusal to cede control of Gaza. In recent months, he has stepped up financial pressure on Hamas.

In April, he reinstated taxes on fuel bound for Gaza’s only power plant, making Hamas unable to afford it. As a result, the small station has stopped working. Gaza now receives its only electricity from Israel, and a small quantity from Egypt.

Abbas has also cut the salaries of tens of thousands of former employees in Gaza, hurting the territory’s already poor economy.