Power hit in Hamas-run Gaza as rivals 'stop' payments

 08 Jul 2017 - 19:40

Power hit in Hamas-run Gaza as rivals 'stop' payments
Palestinians spend time on a beach in a warm weather in Gaza City July 7, 2017. Reuters/Mohammed Salem

AFP

Gaza City, Palestinian Territories:  Power supplies haven taken a fresh hit in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, with authorities Saturday accusing the rival Palestinian Authority of blocking fuel payments to Egypt from going through banks.

The electricity authority said two of the three generators at Gaza's only power plant were offline because "the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah stopped all the financial transactions through Palestinian banks to Egypt to buy fuel."

"This led to the stopping of fuel (deliveries) two days ago from Egypt."

The electricity distribution company confirmed only one generator was operating, producing 23 megawatts of power -- which added to other sources means Gaza currently has a total of 93 megawatts a day.

More than 500 megawatts are required to serve the Palestinian enclave's population.

Internationally recognised Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, who runs the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, has recently sought to squeeze his longtime rivals Hamas, who control Gaza.

His government recently stopped paying for energy to Gaza, leading Israel to start reducing it.

The cut left the impoverished territory of more than two million people with as little as two hours of mains electricity a day.

As an interim measure Egypt stepped in to deliver fuel to Gaza's sole power plant, but that has now been threatened.

The Egyptian deliveries came as part of improving relations between Cairo and Hamas.

There was no immediate response from the Palestinian Authority.