Analysis: Gov't left hand doesn't know what right hand is doing

When Israel inadvertently made drastic reductions in the Gaza power supply, the terrorists did not seem to notice.

Gaza power station 224.8 (photo credit: AP)
Gaza power station 224.8
(photo credit: AP)
The affidavit submitted by Dan Weinstock, head of the Electricity Authority of the Ministry of National Infrastructures, is a great embarrassment to the government because it proves that senior officials literally don't know what they are doing. On November 29, the state's representative, attorney Gilad Shirman, explained to the court that the government intended to cut the power supply on four main lines serving the Gaza Strip from 400 amperes (roughly 20 megawatts) each, to 380 megawatts, a reduction of five percent on each line, for a total of about four megawatts. Altogether, Israel was supposedly supplying 120 megawatts of electricity to Gaza. The reduction on the four lines would constitute 3.3% of the overall power supply, down to 116 megawatts. But in an embarrassing correction, Weinstock informed the court on Wednesday that the figures he had presented were outdated. For the past year, he said, Israel had only been supplying 330 amperes on two of these four lines. Thus, instead of a total of 120 megawatts, Israel was actually supplying 113 megawatts throughout almost all of 2007, constituting a 5.8% drop from what was thought to be the total supply. In December, Israel increased the power supply on the two lines to 380 amperes, Weinstock added. So what, exactly, is the government going to do now? Shirman told the court it would reduce the power supply on the four lines to 380 amperes. But two of the four lines are already operating at that level. The same two lines had been operating throughout the year at 330 amperes so that in December, after the government had decided to punish Gaza and reduce the electricity supply, it actually increased it by 50 amperes per line, back up to 380 amperes each. The government's left hand apparently does not know what the right hand is doing. Now that it has all the information (if indeed it does,) it will have to go back to the drawing board again. After all, since two of the power lines it wanted to cut have already been cut (after being increased for 11 months,) exactly what sanction does the government want to impose? During the November 29 hearing, Shirman maintained that the 5% cut was small and would not harm the civilian population. If it is so small, asked Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, why impose it at all? Shirman replied: "The minister of defense believes that the cutback will reduce the capacity of the terrorists to manufacture Kassams." If that's the case, Defense Minister Ehud Barak has already been proven wrong. Throughout the period when Israel had inadvertently made far more drastic reductions in the power supply to Gaza than it is contemplating now, the terrorists and their missiles did not seem to notice.