Fuel to Gaza power plants renewed

EU resumes deliveries after suspicions Hamas pocketed electricity revenues end.

gaza blackout 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
gaza blackout 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Gaza's fuel authority on Wednesday said the shipment of fuel to the Strip had been renewed. The European Union suspended fuel deliveries to a major Gaza power plant after it began to suspect the strip's Hamas rulers were pocketing electricity revenues. Hamas denied skimming money, saying the allegations were cooked up by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's rival government in the West Bank in an effort to discredit it. Due to the fuel cutoff, Hamas was confronted with a major crisis just two months after it seized control of the strip, vanquishing Fatah forces loyal to Abbas. It also left at least half of Gaza's 1.4 million residents in the dark and without fans as temperatures soared to 34 degrees (95 degrees F). Without enough power to keep pumps going, authorities began rationing water. Shops in Gaza City's main market set up noisy, smoke-spewing generators in the streets to run their lights. Families ran to the grocery stores every few hours to buy food because they couldn't refrigerate. And streets were jammed with cars and irritable motorists because traffic lights were out. The electricity outage initially began Friday after Israel closed a fuel crossing with Gaza, citing security threats. Although Israel reopened the crossing on Sunday, the fuel shipments were not renewed because the EU notified the Israeli fuel vendor that it would not pay for them. On Tuesday, the EU announced it would resume fuel payments to the power plant, but that the plant must be audited. The Israeli fuel vendor, Dor Alon, was not immediately available for comment on the renewal of fuel supplies to Gaza.