Palestinians walk on a road during a power cut in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has vowed to further reduce funding to Gaza, until such time as he has reached a deal with Hamas with regard to the Strip.
“We will continue to gradually reduce the transfer of financial allocations to the Gaza Strip,” Abbas said on Saturday in the middle of a larger speech on the situation in Jerusalem.
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He has been reducing funding since the start of the year and in the spring informed Israel that he would only pay a portion of the PA’s bill to Israel’s electricity company which helps service the Strip.
He has placed an onerous tax on the diesel fuel needed to run Gaza’s sole power plant.
These moves are part of a series of pressure tactic to oust Hamas from the Strip ten years after it took over the area in a bloody coup in 2007.
At present Gaza’s 2 million residents are living on about 135 MW of power, down from the 250 it had received in the winter. It needs 450 to 500 MW for residents to receive service 24 hours a day.
According to the UN, Gaza residents now receive only about four to six hours a day of electricity.
The United Nations has tried unsuccessfully to raise funds to make up the gap. On Saturday it said it had received only 24% of the monetary aid it asked for in a campaign it launched last month.
“Only 24% of the $25 million appeal for urgent humanitarian interventions in the Gaza Strip, launched in early July, have been secured so far,” the UN office of the coordination of humanitarian affairs in the Palestinian territories said.
“The Palestinian NGO network (PNGO) reported that more than 44,000 people suffering from disabilities are particularly affected by the long power cuts, including people dependent on oxygen and mobility devices, which require electricity,” the UN said.
The UN has explained that the absence of power impacts all aspects of life in Gaza, including health services, clean drinking water and sewage treatment.