Israel cuts electricity supply to Gaza, targets Hamas

Michele Moreno
June 14, 2017

The rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Gaza will soon spark yet another conflict between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, the United Nations envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian process warned on Monday.

"They [Hamas] receive support from Qatar and have received aid from other countries in the past, but they usually choose to put the funds towards building up infrastructure towards terrorism", Erdan said.

At the security cabinet session on Sunday, ministers decided Israel would not make up the shortfall, the officials said.

The power crisis in Gaza is "an internal Palestinian matter", Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday in a first comment since Israel made a decision to reduce its electricity supply to Gaza. Shelling between both the Gaza Strip and southern Israel first increased at the beginning of the year and has been regular since, as both Israel and Hamas' positions have hardened.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas had warned that "unprecedented measures" would be implemented if Hamas does not forfeit some of its control over Gaza to the PA. Hamas has refused to comply with Abbas's demands.

A month ago, Mordechai warned global aid organizations operating in the Gaza Strip that they had to prepare for the possibility that Israel would gradually cut of the power supply to the territory. While cutting funding to Gaza's already faltering economy could heap pressure on Hamas, it could galvanise Gazans and turn them against Fatah.

In 2007, after Hamas took control over the Strip, Israel and Egypt have imposed a blockade on the territory.

Over the years, Hamas has built a labyrinth of tunnels, some passing under the border into Israel in order to launch attacks.

Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas has denied that it or any other militant group built a tunnel under two United Nations schools in Gaza after its discovery drew a strong United Nations protest.

"Hamas is demanding that the PA pay for the electricity and the PA is refusing to do so", Netanyahu said.

It was likely that Hamas would "lean towards political accommodation and reach a compromise deal with Abbas and Fatah that will allow the return of PA power in Gaza again", the Al Jazeera piece said.

"This Israeli decision is risky and catastrophic", said Hamas spokesman Abdulatif al-Qanou. "We renew the call to the Hamas movement and the de facto government there to hand over to us all responsibilities of government institutions in Gaza so that the government can provide its best services to our people in Gaza", he said.

UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness told HuffPost in a statement that the organization's mandate and position is clear and unchanged.

The Israeli decision came despite the Israeli Chief of Staff, Gadi Eisenkot, Israel' s head of the Military Intelligence Directorate, Herzi Halevi, and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Yoav Mordechai, describing a worsening economic and humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Other reports by Insurance News

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