Hamas foiling Gaza power crisis solution: Palestinian PM

March 26th, 2012 - 12:16 am ICT by IANS  

Ramallah, March 25 (IANS) Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad Sunday accused Hamas of foiling an attempt to resume fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip.

Fayyad said in a statement that he delegated officials from the West Bank-based energy authority to Egypt to look for a lasting solution to the Gaza power crisis, but Hamas, while controls Gaza, did not send its own people, reported Xinhua.

Fayyad said he asked his delegation to wait for another day in Cairo, but officials from Gaza’s energy authority, run by Hamas, did not come as well.

Ghassan Al-Khatib, spokesperson for Fayyad’s government, said that Egypt has invited representatives of the Palestinian authorities in both the West Bank and Gaza to find a solution to the disruption of fuel supplies, which caused Gaza’s only power plant to shut down.

Hamas used to bring in fuel from Egypt, where smugglers buy it as a subsidized item and sell it to Hamas, which taxes it. The industrial diesel for the power station and gasoline for cars used to come through a network of underground smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Egypt.

Taher Al-Nounou, spokesperson for Hamas, said that the Hamas authority is not ready to sit with Fayyad’s envoys “who want us to go back to buy Israeli diesel with tripled prices.”

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Friday sent 450,000 litres of diesel to the power station through Israel’s Kerem Shalom crossing. Hamas said the station would stop Sunday because that shipment of diesel would run out in the evening.

Fayyad said earlier that fuel can continue to be delivered to Gaza if the Hamas authority transfer its costs to the PNA, which buys it from Israel.

For Hamas, getting fuel from Egypt provides it with good tax revenues.

Gaza needs more than 350 megawatts (MW) of electricity. Israel and Egypt supply it directly with 140 MW, while the power plant produces 80 MW when working at full capacity. With the power plant not working, the blackout period extends from at least eight to 16 hours per day.

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