Hamas says political motives behind Gaza’s mounting energy crisisMarch 21st, 2012 - 1:35 am ICT by IANS
Gaza, March 20 (IANS) Islamic Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, said on Tuesday that there are political motives behind the energy shortage that has been troubling the impoverished coastal enclave for four months.
On Tuesday, at most of gas stations in Gaza, owners said they have not even one drop of Israeli or smuggled Egyptian fuel for cars. Traffic in the streets is significantly reduced and more people are seen going to school or work on foot, reported Xinhua.
Jamal Jarad, chief of transportation union in Gaza told Xinhua that more vehicles are expected to retreat from the streets within a few hours if the crisis goes on.
“Negative consequences have influenced all facilities of our society. Particularly, tens of thousands of families are badly affected as their breadwinners are taxi drivers,” said Jarad.
Meanwhile, Mohamed al-Abadela, a committee member of the association for fuels distributors told Xinhua that the Gaza Strip did not receive any fuel supplies for three days on end. “This has worsened the unprecedented crisis that has been there since December.”
Official figures said earlier that the Gaza Strip needs 700,000 litres of fuels per day, including 200,000 litres of gas and 500,000 litres of diesel, for hundreds of gas stations in the enclave to operate. However, only 150,000 litres of fuels smuggled from Egypt are supporting the enclave daily since December, when the amounts of fuels allowed through the underground tunnels decreased.
The people in the Gaza Strip not only need the fuels for cars but also for running generators at home, as Gaza’s main power station has stopped operation. The enclave needs 300 megawatts of power but only receives 120 megawatts from Israel and 24 from Egypt.
Although the Gaza population related the crisis to Egypt’s restrictions on smuggling, but Yousef Rezqa, an aide to the head of the Hamas government Ismail Haniya, told Xinhua that the Egyptian intelligence, who works to topple the Hamas rule, “is behind the crisis.”
“The crisis is completely political. Particularly, the Egyptian intelligence has a hand in it. We hope that Egypt will be part of the solution, not part of deterioratio of the crisis,” said Rezqa.
Hamas movement, which had violently seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, had arranged massive rallies near the Egyptian border, demanding the Egyptian authorities help solve the crisis.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s ambassador to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Yasser Othman Tuesday told a local radio station in Gaza that Egypt is not to be blamed for the crisis, adding that his country, which also suffers a shortage of fuels, are making intensive efforts to help end Gaza’s energy crisis.
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