Israel to Heed PA Request to Cut Electricity to Hamas-Controlled Gaza

Israel to Heed PA Request to Cut Electricity to Hamas-Controlled Gaza”

"The Israeli claims regarding discovering alleged tunnels underneath the UNRWA school are classic Israeli lies aiming to dehumanise the Palestinian refugees", senior Hamas leader and spokesman Izzat al-Rishq said.

Most recently, he asked Israel to reduce Gaza electricity by 40 percent.

According to Yoav Mordechai, the Israeli head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), President Mahmoud Abbas requested Israel to stop supplying electricity to Gaza back in April. Following Hamas's coup in Gaza, repeated attempts by Abbas's Fatah party and Hamas to create a Palestinian unity government have failed.

Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups in Gaza have since fought three wars with Israel.

Under current supply levels, Gaza has only four to six hours of power a day, significantly impairing the medical services in the Mediterranean coastal strip.

Gilad Erdan, Israel's public security minister, told army radio the cut was a "decision" by Abbas.

Israel and Egypt have been tightly controlling access to the Gaza Strip for years to weaken Hamas.

Al-Quds and al-Hayat al-Jadida spotlighted a report titled Settler Violence: Lack of accountability by Israeli human rights group B'Tselem. He was referring to the fact that Hamas tossed the Palestinian Authority out of Gaza in a military coup in 2007. The PA and neighboring Arab nations however do not appear the least bit concerned over the situation in Gaza other than to use it politically against Israel.

Hamas also said the cut was made on Abbas's orders and termed it "a catastrophe".

"People won't be patient for much longer", Mr Azaizeh said. The official estimated that the reduction would limit power in Gaza to three hours a day.

The political and security cabinet yesterday chose to reduce the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip.

Israel, in contrast, won't be able to say its hands are clean if sick people, including babies and the elderly, will die in Gaza because of the hospitals' prolonged power outages. "Action must be taken to bring Gaza's infrastructure to a level that meets the needs of its residents", the letter asserted. The United States, Israel's main ally, was the biggest donor to UNRWA past year, pledging $368 million.

"The decision of the occupation to reduce the electricity to Gaza at the request of PA President Mahmoud Abbas is catastrophic and unsafe", Hamas spokesperson Abdel Latif al-Qanua said. "With control comes responsibility", she said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu broke from the Government of Israel's longstanding policy and stated that UNRWA, the internationally funded United Nations body dedicated to providing health, education, welfare and legal services to Palestinian "refugees", should be shut down.

On Monday, Hamas slammed the move, warning of potential consequences.

"The PA smells an opportunity here, Israel also sees an opportunity here", Schanzer said.

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