Gazans arrange gas cylinders at gas filling station R.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel allowed nine fuel tankers to cross into the Gaza Strip on
Friday to ease a severe power shortage triggered by a dispute over
supplies between Egypt and Hamas.
delivery of around 450,000 liters of industrial diesel was the first to
Gaza's only power station coming via Israel in almost a year after
Hamas softened on its resistance to accepting supplies from its Jewish
The fuel is enough to power the plant, which serves two
thirds of Gaza's population, for one day, an official from Gaza's
energy authority said.
A Palestinian official said contacts were under way to arrange an additional delivery on Friday.
fuel crisis has crippled Gaza in recent weeks. Petrol pumps have run
dry and its 1.7 million residents suffer major electricity black outs.
dispute followed Egypt's insistence that fuel imports to Gaza pass
through the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing on the Egypt-Gaza
border and its crackdown on smuggled supplies last month.
objects to that arrangement, not wanting to allow Israel - a country
whose right to exist it does not recognize - the power to block supplies
in times of tension. It wants direct trade with Egypt, which could
strengthen Gaza's economy and Hamas's popularity.
The crisis is a
further example of the rocky relationship between Hamas and Egypt,
which favors Hamas's rivals Fatah - the party that lost control of the
Strip to Hamas in 2007.
Friday's delivery followed "intensive and
successful contacts" between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the
Palestinian President, and Egypt and Israel, said Raed Fattouh, the
Palestinian Authority official in charge of coordination with Israel
over the passage of supplies into Gaza.
Initially Hamas did not want to accept the diesel but later relented.