One day after an Israeli official announced in a BBC Arabic interview that Israel would be reducing its electricity supply to the Gaza Strip, the Hamas movement released a statement on Friday warning the Israeli government of unspecified “consequences,” should the reductions be implemented.
Hamas, the de facto authorities of the besieged Gaza Strip, warned Israel against escalating the near decade long military blockade on the small coastal enclave, and warned of unspecified “consequences.”
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) — the agency responsible for implementing the Israeli government’s policies in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip — Yoav Mordechai said in an interview on Thursday that Israel plans on reducing its electricity supply to Gaza, which has been embroiled in a power and fuel crisis for months.
A COGAT spokesperson told Ma’an that the reductions were being made upon request of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs the occupied West Bank, though it remained unclear when Israel would begin lowering the electricity supply.
The PA, which foots Gaza’s 40 million shekel ($11,187,021) monthly bill from Israel, allegedly requested that the Israeli government reduce the supply to 25-30 million shekels per month.
A PA spokesperson was not immediately available for comment at the time, though last month, reports emerged saying that the PA notified authorities that it would stop paying for the electricity that Israel provides Gaza altogether.
Critics have said the PA’s move represents an attempt by the PA to exert pressure on the Hamas government to release control of the small Palestinian territory, forcing the government to rely almost fully on international assistance and private funds to obtain electricity for Gaza’s residents.
Even at full capacity, faltering Egyptian lines and Israeli electricity grids, together with Gaza’s now-shut down sole power plant, fail to cover the Gaza Strip’s energy need.
The power plant has not run at full capacity in years, with Israel’s crippling blockade severely limiting fuel imports into the coastal enclave.
The UN has warned that the Gaza Strip would become uninhabitable for residents by 2020, pointing to the devastation of war and nearly a decade of Israel’s blockade.