PA fuel delivery policy to Gaza could ‘shut power plant’

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The power and natural resources authority of the Gaza Strip government on Tuesday slammed the Palestinian Authority’s petroleum authority over its policy in delivering fuel to run Gaza’s sole power plant.

In a statement received by Ma’an, the Gaza-based body said that the Ramallah-based petroleum authority is providing the Qatari-bought fuel to Gaza on a day-to-day basis, leaving the supply open to disruptions.

The statement also stressed that the implementation of a day-to-day policy is unnecessary given “the fact that they have already received a Qatari grant to supply bigger fuel quantities,” and could thus send larger amounts of fuel.

The statement highlighted that the Kerem Shalom crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel does not operate on Fridays and Saturdays, meaning that the PA must send bigger sums of fuel on other days to make up for these gaps.

The statement also warned that Gaza’s power plant could stop operating on Fridays soon as a result of the PA’s day-to-day fuel policy.

The fuel being sent from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority to the Hamas-run government in the Gaza Strip was bought with a $10 million donation from Qatar intended to ease the fuel crisis in the besieged coastal enclave.

The first shipments of fuel arrived in December, allowing the Gaza Strip’s sole power plant to begin working again after many weeks of closure due to lack of fuel due to the Israeli-led blockade.

Prior to the deliveries, fuel shortages had caused daily life in the Gaza Strip to grind slowly to a halt since early November, cutting off access to basic necessities for Gaza residents.

By mid-December, most parts of the Gaza Strip were receiving power for only a few hours as a day as a result. Since the delivery of Qatari-funded fuel to the Gaza Strip beginning in mid-December, however, power has returned to six hours a day, and at times reaches up to 12 hours a day.

Until July of this year, the tunnels 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.

Gaza Strip energy officials blame Egypt for destroying these tunnels while maintaining the larger economic blockade, along with Israel.

The Gaza Strip has been under a severe economic blockade imposed by Israel since 2006.

(Source / 14.01.2014)

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