Environment Minister: Israel Should Cut Power Supply to Gaza in Case of Shortage

Environmental Protection Ministry study shows 4.5% of Israeli electricity exported to Gaza; Minister Erdan says 'our poor come first.'

Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan on Sunday sought support from other government ministers to add a stipulation to any policy decision regarding the expected electricity shortages this summer.

Erdan said that he wishes to add a clause to the agreement stipulating that if any electricity service needs to be temporarily stopped, such temporary outages should be implemented in Hamas-controlled Gaza, before affecting the power supply to residents of Israel.

Erdan made it clear that the stipulation is not meant to be a sanction against Gaza, nor its residents, but simply a logical step toward the philosophy of putting "the poor of your own city first."

Erdan said that it is not reasonable to reduce the power supply to residents of Israel in the event of a shortage, while continuing to supply power to Gaza, from which Israel disengaged roughly seven years ago, and is no longer responsible for what goes on within its borders.

Erdan noted in his letter to government ministers that experts in the field predict that a power shortage this summer is unavoidable, and a schedule of regulated, intentional power outages will need to be implemented.

Erdan pointed out that according to a study conducted by the Environmental Protection Ministry, Israel exports roughly 4.5% of electricity it generates to the Palestinian Authority. Thus Erdan suggests that if even after all countermeasures are in place, periodic stoppages of electricity need to be implemented, such outages should be felt in Gaza before in Israel.

"As the Environmental Protection Ministry is warning against a possible 'electricity drought,' steps are being made to counter it, including possible stops of service – there is no question, rather a clear decision in that case – Gaza first," said Erdan.

Communications Minister Gilad Erdan
Daniel Bar-On