A truck parks next to a security barrier inside the Kerem Shalom border crossing terminal between Israel and Gaza Strip January 16, 2018.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Hamas said on Wednesday that the delivery of diesel fuel funded by Qatar to the power plant in the Gaza Strip came in the context of efforts to achieve a truce agreement with Israel.
Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif Qanou said that the delivery of the fuel through the Kerem Shalom border crossing will be followed by more steps “whether the Palestinian Authority agrees or objects.”
Qanou did not specify the nature of the anticipated steps.
He said that the statements made by PA leaders in response to the transfer of fuel “prove that they have failed in their attempts to suffocate the Gaza Strip and force its residents to their knees.”
On Tuesday, two UN trucks loaded with thousands of liters of fuel
entered the Gaza Strip as part of a plan to improve the power shortage. The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip get only four to five hours of electricity per day because of the PA’s refusal to pay for the fuel needed to keep the power plant running.
Qatar recently agreed to pay for the fuel, which is being bought from Israeli companies and delivered to the Gaza Strip through the United Nations Office for Project Services.
The Qatari initiative has drawn sharp criticism from PA and Fatah officials, some of whom have accused the Gulf emirate of meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians and supporting Hamas. They have also warned that the move will consolidate the split between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
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Another senior Hamas official, Esam Aldalis, who serves as deputy head of the movement’s political department, said on Wednesday that several international parties, including the UN, Egypt and Qatar, have decided to help resolve the crises facing the Gaza Strip notwithstanding the position of the PA leadership. The decision, he added, was aimed at avoiding a military confrontation between Israel and Hamas.
Aldalis told the Gaza-based Falastin online newspaper that the transfer of the fuel to the power plant in the Gaza Strip came in response to the “continued sacrifices of the Palestinian people to end the blockade.” The will of the Palestinian people has “triumphed over those who are besieging and punishing” the Gaza Strip, the Hamas official said.
Aldalis said that the PA did its utmost to obstruct the transfer of the Qatari-funded fuel to the Gaza Strip, including threatening workers of the power plant and truck drivers there. “All these threats have failed,” he added. “The Qatari grant came in the context of efforts made by this country, Egypt and the UN to reach a truce agreement [with Israel].”
He expressed hope that humanitarian and economic aid to the Gaza Strip
would continue to solve all problems facing the people there, especially in the health sector and employment.
In response to the PA’s and Fatah’s objection to the Qatari initiative, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum accused the Ramallah-based Palestinian government of engaging in “lies and deception.” He also accused the PA government headed by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah of “inciting” Israel to maintain the blockade in the Gaza Strip. The PA government, he charged, is “no longer qualified or trustworthy to manage the affairs of the Palestinians.”
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